Marsilea distorta A. Braun

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Common names:
Frequency: Rare
Status: Native
Stipe up to 10 cm long, wiry, usually hairless. Leaflets slightly asymmetrical, obdeltate, 6-11 × 4-8 mm, outer margins irregularly crenate-dentate, long pellucid streaks between the veins. Sporocarps: crowded, in clusters at the base of the stipe, brown, 3.5-4.5 mm long, 2.75-3.25 mm high, 1.8-2.5 mm thick, broadly elliptic to oblong-elliptic in lateral view, vertical cross-section elliptic, densely covered with brown hairs; lower tooth prominent appearing as a recurved apex of the raphe, upper tooth absent or present as a dark circular spot. Pedicels 4-12 mm long, free, twisted, pigtail-like curved, flexuose, usually growing downwards and thus burying the sporocarps in the ground, several arising from the base of the stipe.
Notes: It differs from other species in having translucent streaks between the veins in the leaflets, the sporocarp is lacking a superior tooth and has a stalk that is conspicuously curved and twisted.
Derivation of specific name: distorta: deformed or twisted, referring to the pigtail-like curved pedicels of the sporocarps.
Habitat: Seasonally flooded areas, swamp and lake shores.
Altitude range: (metres) Up to 600 m
Worldwide distribution: Liberia, Mauritania, Mozambique, Namibia, Senegal, Sudan, Tanzania, Zimbabwe
Zimbabwe distribution: E
Growth form(s): Aquatic, terrestrial.
Endemic status:
Red data list status:
Insects associated with this species:
Spot characters: Display spot characters for this species

Burrows, J.E. (1990). Southern African Ferns and Fern Allies. Frandsen, Sandton. Page 68. (Includes a picture).

Crouch, N.R., Klopper, R.R., Burrows, J.E. & Burrows, S.M. (2011). Ferns of Southern Africa, A comprehensive guide Struik Nature Pages 232 - 233. (Includes a picture).

Da Silva, M.C., Izidine, S. & Amude, A.B. (2004). A preliminary checklist of the vascular plants of Mozambique. Southern African Botanical Diversity Network Report No. 30 Sabonet, Pretoria Page 12.

Jacobsen, W.B.G. (1983). The Ferns and Fern Allies of Southern Africa. Butterworths, Durban and Pretoria. Pages 476 - 477. (Includes a picture).

Mapaura, A. & Timberlake, J. (eds) (2004). A checklist of Zimbabwean vascular plants Southern African Botanical Diversity Network Report No. 33 Sabonet, Pretoria and Harare Page 8.

Roux, J.P. (2001). Conspectus of Southern African Pteridophyta. Southern African Botanical Diversity Network Report 13 Page 175.

Roux, J.P. (2009). Synopsis of the Lycopodiophyta and Pteridophyta of Africa, Madagascar and neighbouring islands Page 56.

Other sources of information about Marsilea distorta:

Our websites:

Flora of Mozambique: Marsilea distorta

External websites:

African Plants: A Photo Guide (Senckenberg): Marsilea distorta
BHL (Biodiversity Heritage Library): Marsilea distorta
EOL (Encyclopedia of Life): Marsilea distorta
GBIF (Global Biodiversity Information Facility): Marsilea distorta
Google: Web - Images - Scholar
iNaturalist: Marsilea distorta
IPNI (International Plant Names Index): Marsilea distorta
JSTOR Plant Science: Marsilea distorta
Mansfeld World Database of Agricultural and Horticultural Crops: Marsilea distorta
Plants of the World Online: Marsilea distorta
Tropicos: Marsilea distorta
Wikipedia: Marsilea distorta

Copyright: Mark Hyde, Bart Wursten, Petra Ballings and Meg Coates Palgrave, 2002-24

Hyde, M.A., Wursten, B.T., Ballings, P. & Coates Palgrave, M. (2024). Flora of Zimbabwe: Species information: Marsilea distorta., retrieved 5 March 2024

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