203.100 Marsilea L. - Water clover or clover fern.

Crouch, N.R., Klopper, R.R., Burrows, J.E. & Burrows, S.M. (2011) Ferns of Southern Africa, A comprehensive guide Struik Nature

Jacobsen, W.B.G. (1983) The Ferns and Fern Allies of Southern Africa. Butterworths, Durban and Pretoria.

Roux, J.P. (2001) Conspectus of Southern African Pteridophyta. Southern African Botanical Diversity Network Report 13

Schelpe, E.A.C.L.E. (1970) Pteridophyta Flora Zambesiaca

Description of the genus

The plants mostly look like swamp-grown four-leaved clover!
Fronds with 4 leaflets, arranged symmetrically crosswise at the apex of a stipe, floating in submerged plants. Leaflets herbaceous, obtriangular to obovate. Sori numerous on a gelatinous string-like receptacle attached to the wall of the sporocarp. Sporocarps stalked, borne singly or many together on petioles arising at or near the base of the stipe.

The identification of species of Marsilea on vegetative characters is impossible, mature sporocarps are essential for accurate naming.

Derivation of name: marsilea: named after Count Luigi Fernandino Marsigli of Bologna (1658-1730), naturalist.

Worldwide: ± 70 species, near cosmopolitan distribution.

Zimbabwe: 9 taxa.

Marsilea ephippiocarpa

Links to taxa:     View: living plant images - herbarium specimen images - all images for this genus

SpeciesFZ divisionsContent
apposita LaunertN,W,CDescription, Image
coromandelina Willd.SDescription, Image
distorta A. BraunEDescription
ephippiocarpa AlstonN,W,C,E,SDescription, Image
farinosa Launert subsp. farinosa W,CDescription, Image
macrocarpa C.PreslN,W,EDescription, Image
minuta L. var. minuta NDescription, Image
nubica A. Braun var. gymnocarpa (Lepr. ex A. Braun) LaunertN,WDescription, Image
vera LaunertWDescription

Other sources of information about Marsilea:

Our websites:

Flora of Botswana: Marsilea
Flora of Caprivi: Marsilea
Flora of Malawi: Marsilea
Flora of Mozambique: Marsilea
Flora of Zambia: Marsilea

External websites:

ePIC (electronic Plant Information Center): Marsilea
Flora Zambesiaca web site: Marsilea
Google: Web - Images - Scholar
GRIN (Germplasm Resources Information Network) taxonomy for plants report for Marsilea
Wikipedia: Marsilea
IPNI (International Plant Names Index): Marsilea
Kew Herbarium catalogue: Marsilea

Copyright: Mark Hyde, Bart Wursten, Petra Ballings and Meg Coates Palgrave, 2002-23

Hyde, M.A., Wursten, B.T., Ballings, P. & Coates Palgrave, M. (2023). Flora of Zimbabwe: Genus page: Marsilea.
https://www.zimbabweflora.co.zw/speciesdata/genus.php?genus_id=87, retrieved 4 February 2023

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