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Azolla Species, Carolina Mosquito Fern, Mosquito Fern, Water Velvet

Azolla caroliniana

Family: Azollaceae
Genus: Azolla (a-ZOL-luh) (Info)
Species: caroliniana (kair-oh-lin-ee-AN-uh) (Info)
Synonym:Azolla bonariensis
Synonym:Azolla densa
Synonym:Azolla portoricensis
Synonym:Salvinia azolla


Ponds and Aquatics

Water Requirements:

Very high moisture needs; suitable for bogs and water gardens

Sun Exposure:

Full Sun

Sun to Partial Shade

Light Shade

Partial to Full Shade

Full Shade


Grown for foliage



Foliage Color:



under 6 in. (15 cm)


3-6 in. (7-15 cm)


USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 C (5 F)

USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)

USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)

USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)

USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)

USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 C (30 F)

USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 C (35 F)

USDA Zone 11: above 4.5 C (40 F)

Where to Grow:

Unknown - Tell us



Bloom Color:


Bloom Characteristics:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Size:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Time:


Other details:

May be a noxious weed or invasive

Soil pH requirements:

4.5 or below (very acidic)

4.6 to 5.0 (highly acidic)

5.1 to 5.5 (strongly acidic)

5.6 to 6.0 (acidic)

6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)

6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)

7.9 to 8.5 (alkaline)

8.6 to 9.0 (strongly alkaline)

over 9.1 (very alkaline)

Patent Information:

Unknown - Tell us

Propagation Methods:

From spores

Seed Collecting:

N/A: plant does not set seed, flowers are sterile, or plants will not come true from seed


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Tuscaloosa, Alabama

Bartow, Florida

Fountain, Florida

Miccosukee Cpo, Florida

Tallahassee, Florida

Barbourville, Kentucky

Cleveland, Ohio

Crossville, Tennessee

Wytheville, Virginia

show all

Gardeners' Notes:


On Apr 12, 2014, taniaaust1 from Adelaide,
Australia wrote:

I think it is this species of Azolla I have. (is this one in Australia? Its not the trianglar Aussie variety I have). It is a great plant, grows very fast, my fish and tabpoles dont eat it, so I dont have to replace it (like they do to my duckweed!). If you get too much it makes great mulch on the garden.


On Dec 13, 2010, strange2u from Hinsdale, IL wrote:

pondplants.biz sells this plant, I think I'll get some and grow it in doors this winter.


On Jan 3, 2007, frostweed from Josephine, Arlington, TX (Zone 8a) wrote:

Mosquito Plant, Carolina Mosquito Fern Azolla caroliniana is native to Texas and other States.


On Jan 23, 2005, crimsontsavo from Crossville, TN (Zone 7a) wrote:

Adds a continual splash of color to ponds and slow moving streams. Our fish leave this alone for the most part, eating instead the duckweed and water hyacinths. Reproduces very fast and can be a nuisance. Easily removed as compared to duckweed. Composte unwanted portions and use as plant fertilizer.
Pureed then rolled into a thin patty you can dehydrate Azolla caroliniana and make fish flakes from it. Same to be said about Duckweed.


On Nov 5, 2004, NativePlantFan9 from Boca Raton, FL (Zone 10a) wrote:

This is an aquatic plant that is native to the U.S. and is widely distributed throughout much of the East and Midwestern U.S., from New England south through Florida, westward to Texas and northward to South Dakota and is found in all states in between. It is common in still waters, ponds and rivers.


On Oct 7, 2004, tcfromky from Mercer, PA (Zone 5a) wrote:

The name is defined as:
Azolla: name obscure
caroliniana: from Carolinas


On Oct 6, 2004, Kelli from L.A. (Canoga Park), CA (Zone 10a) wrote:

Cute stuff, but you can't keep koi and azolla in the same pond. The koi will eat it all.