Marsilea macrocarpa C.Presl

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Marsilea macrocarpa

Photo: Petra Ballings
Hwange, on turn of road to N.P.

Marsilea macrocarpa

Photo: Petra Ballings
Guvalala dam, Hwange N.P.

Marsilea macrocarpa

Photo: Petra Ballings
Guvalala dam, Hwange N.P.

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Species details: Click on each item to see an explanation of that item (Note: opens a new window)

Synonyms: Marsilea dregeana A. Braun
Marsilea fischeri Hieron
Marsilea rotundata A. Braun
Common names:
Status: Native
Floating form: stipe 15-30 cm long. Leaflets 15-23 mm long and wide, hairless, broadly obdeltate often with concave flanks, outer margin rounded, entire. Dry land form: stipe 3-21 cm long. Leaflets 4-25 mm long and wide, flanks straight or slightly concave, outer margins shallowly crenate to irregularly incised, slightly hairy when young. Sporocarps: solitary, fluctuating in size, 3.5-7 mm long, 3-5.5 mm high, 1.5-2 mm thick; elliptic or more or less rectangular to subcircular in lateral view, rectangular in vertical cross-section with the sides sometimes concave, grooved on the upper and outer side, slightly hairy; lateral ribs more or less visible in young specimens; lower tooth absent, upper tooth a short hump or an obtuse point. Sporocarp set at an angle of 90° to almost 180° to the pedicel; pedicels up to 7-12 mm long, erect or arching, free, single, arising from the base of the stipe.
Notes: Can be distinguished by combination of very short upper tooth, groove on the upper and outer side and concave flanks of the sporocarp, free and solitary pedicels.
Derivation of specific name: macrocarpa: with large fruits or sporocarps.
Habitat: Areas with permanent or temporary ground water, seasonal vleis and pans, temporary grassland depressions, along streams, sometimes in running water. Seasonal pattern, dormant in dry season.
Altitude range: (metres) Up to 1800 m
Worldwide distribution: Angola, DRC, Botswana, Kenya, Namibia, Tanzania, South Africa, Uganda, Zimbabwe.
Zimbabwe distribution: N,W,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
Images last updated: Sunday 5 August 2012

Burrows, J.E. (1990). Southern African Ferns and Fern Allies. Frandsen, Sandton. Pages 74 - 75. (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 248 - 249. (Includes a picture).

Jacobsen, W.B.G. (1983). The Ferns and Fern Allies of Southern Africa. Butterworths, Durban and Pretoria. Pages 482 - 483. (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 176.

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

Schelpe, E.A.C.L.E. (1970). Pteridophyta Flora Zambesiaca Page 64.

Setshogo, M.P. (2005). Preliminary checklist of the plants of Botswana. Sabonet Report no. 37. Sabonet, Pretoria and Gaborone Page 15.

Other sources of information about Marsilea macrocarpa:

Our websites:

Flora of Botswana: Marsilea macrocarpa
Flora of Caprivi: cultivated Marsilea macrocarpa

External websites:

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

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: Species information: Marsilea macrocarpa., retrieved 30 November 2023

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