Hornwort is a representative of the genus of perennial herbaceous plants living in the water and having thin branches. This plant brings a lot of benefits, and aquarists like to plant it in home aquariums.
Most often, hornwort can be found in reservoirs with standing or slowly flowing water at various depths. It grows in water bodies located in many corners of the globe. Hornwort loves shaded places, and bright light will simply destroy it, so the plant chooses the depth at which it can exist. Its maximum depth reaches 9 meters.
Favorable conditions for development allow the hornwort to form dense underwater thickets that are held at the bottom by rhizoid branches, since the hornwort has no roots. The branches are whitish, thinly dissected leaves that act as anchors.
The stem of the plant is clear and hard, rising to the surface of the reservoir. But the plant’s conductive system is poorly developed, so it is considered a distinctive feature of this type of plant. Minerals due to this the plant absorbs its entire surface. Water is not passed through the tracheids, these cells have lost their conducting function, therefore, starch is being stored in them now.
Sedentary leaves are whorled, each of them dichotomously repeatedly dissected. The final lobes of the leaves contain lime, their consistency is quite tough, therefore, upon contact, they break. Not only the leaves, but many other parts of the plant are covered with hairs. The hornwort also has another feature, which is that it is all covered with cuticles. This is a special film of a substance through which water and gases do not pass, it is unconventional for any higher aquatic plant, but in brown algae it is commonplace.
The flowers of the hornwort are small, their size reaches only 2 millimeters, the location is sedentary, same-sex, the petals are absent, the flowers are collected in reduced inflorescences. Hornwort is a monoecious plant, it is pollinated exclusively under water, which is quite rare for flowering plants. The fruit is a nut with spiky outgrowths. The seed has a large germ, perisperm and endosperm are absent, and the entire supply of nutrients is stored in thick cotyledons.
There are several varieties of hornwort, each of which may well serve as food for waterfowl and various fish. The cultivated hornwort is used as an aquarium, as well as in ponds located in gardens. Certain plant varieties are suitable for use in cold water aquariums. As befits the plants of the middle strip, hornworms die off in the winter, but the remaining buds and shoots in the spring give life to the new plant.
The temperature for optimal reproduction of the hornwort is about 16-28 degrees, the illumination of water is 0.3-0.4 W / l, and its hardness is pH 6-7.5. In an aquarium where hornwort is present, the water is usually always clean, no algae or food residues are observed. The plant has a large biologically active surface, which releases oxygen in large quantities. It is quite possible that this explains the rapid oxidation of organic residues and the accelerated growth of fry of viviparous fish.
The hornwort also looks great in the aquarium as a decorative element, because it can be planted in the ground in several places or in one, and it is best to do this close to the glass. If you want to see the plant in the form of an ear, then you often need to separate the top of the hornwort and plant it again in the ground, because the stem becomes long very rapidly.