Proserpinaca pectinata

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Proserpinaca pectinata
Proserpinaca pectinata SEF.jpg
Photo by John Gwaltney hosted at Southeastern
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Magnoliophyta - Flowering plants
Class: Magnoliopsida - Dicots
Order: Haloragales
Family: Haloragaceae
Genus: Proserpinaca
Species: P. pectinata
Binomial name
Proserpinaca pectinata
Natural range of Proserpinaca pectinata from USDA NRCS Plants Database.

Common Names: feathery mermaid-weed;[1] combleaf mermaidweed[2]

Taxonomic Notes

Synonyms: none


Proserpinaca pectinata is a dioecious perennial that grows as a forb/herb.[2] Flowers are red, orange, and green in color.[3]


This species is disjunct in Nova Scotia and the Great Lakes region[4], south to southern Florida, and westward to western Louisiana. While it is primarily found along the coastal plain, it occurs inland, as far as Tennessee[1], and has disjunct populations in western Cuba.[5]



P. pectinata occurs in bogs, savannas, ditches, longleaf pine forests, wet pine flatwoods, and other wet places.[1][6] Along New York pond shorelines, this species is found on areas of organic exposed pond bottoms and permanently flooded zones.[7] It is also found in disturbed areas including powerline transects and borrow pits.[6] Associated species: Cyrilla parvifolia, Salix humilis, Cephalanthus occidentalis, Saccharum sp., Dichanthelium scoparium, Smilax rotundifolia, Proserpinaca pectinata, and Hypericum crux-andreae.[6]

In New Jersey pinelands, Proserpinaca pectinata occurred in 20% of ponds.[8]

Proserpinaca pectinata is an indicator species for the Calcareous Savannas community type as described in Carr et al. (2010).[9]


In the southeastern and mid-Atlantic United States, flowering has been observed from June through October.[1][10]

Fire ecology

Populations of Proserpinaca pectinata have been known to persist through repeated annual burning.[11]

Conservation, cultivation, and restoration

Cultural use

Photo Gallery

References and notes

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Weakley AS (2015) Flora of the Southern and Mid-Atlantic States. Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Herbarium.
  2. 2.0 2.1 USDA NRCS (2016) The PLANTS Database (, 31 January 2018). National Plant Data Team, Greensboro, NC 27401-4901 USA.
  3. Plant database: Proserpinaca pectinata. (31 January 2018) Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center. URL:
  4. Sorrie, B. A. and A. S. Weakley 2001. Coastal Plain valcular plant endemics: Phytogeographic patterns. Castanea 66: 50-82.
  5. Sorrie, B. A. and A. S. Weakley 2001. Coastal Plain valcular plant endemics: Phytogeographic patterns. Castanea 66: 50-82.
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 Florida State University Herbarium Database. URL: Last accessed: June 2021. Collectors: Robert K. Godfrey. States and counties: Florida: Leon and Wakulla. Georgia: Thomas.
  7. Zaremba RE, Lamont EE (1993) The status of the coastal plain pondshore community in New York. Bulletin of the Torrey Botanical Club 120(2):180-187.
  8. Laidig KJ (2012) Simulating the effect of groundwater withdrawals on intermittent-pond vegetation communities. Ecohydrology 5:841-852.
  9. Carr, S.C., K.M. Robertson, and R.K. Peet. 2010. A vegetation classification of fire-dependent pinelands of Florida. Castanea 75:153-189.
  10. Nelson, G. PanFlora: Plant data for the eastern United States with emphasis on the Southeastern Coastal Plains, Florida, and the Florida Panhandle. Accessed: 31 JAN 2018
  11. Platt, W.J., R. Carter, G. Nelson, W. Baker, S. Hermann, J. Kane, L. Anderson, M. Smith, K. Robertson. 2021. Unpublished species list of Wade Tract old-growth longleaf pine savanna, Thomasville, Georgia.