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Genus Marsilea Family Marsileaceae

Description: Rhizome usually long-creeping, often branched.

Sterile fronds borne at intervals along the rhizome; stipe varying in length depending on whether the plant is growing in standing water or not, stipe terminated by 4 leaflets (2 close pairs) that are narrow-cuneate to broadly fan-shaped, glabrous or pubescent; veins anastomosing.

Sporocarps stalked, arising at the base of or from the lower part of the stipe, solitary or in groups, usually densely hairy, variously shaped, often with 1 or 2 teeth near the summit of the stalk. Most species are widespread, especially in inland areas, in wet ground or standing water, often in areas subject to seasonal inundation.


Photo © ANBG

Distribution and occurrence: World: c. 60 species, cosmopolitan. Australia: 8 species, all States.

Text by Peter G. Wilson
Taxon concept:

 Key to the species 
1Rhizomes and fronds virtually glabrous, a few hairs sometimes present at the base of the leaflets; body of sporocarp globose, lacking teethMarsilea mutica
Rhizomes and fronds variously hairy; sporocarps not globose, teeth present2
2Sporocarps with stalk 1.5–10 times the length of the body of the sporocarpMarsilea drummondii
Sporocarps with stalk shorter than the length of the body of the sporocarp
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3
3Upper side of the sporocarps flat or concave, the apex pointed; teeth 2, the lower one usually recurvedMarsilea exarata
Upper side of sporocarps flat or convex, the apex rounded; teeth 1 or 2, the lower one, when present, not recurved
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4
4Teeth 2, triangular, ± equal; leaflets 5–13 mm wide, usually equally arrangedMarsilea hirsuta
Tooth 1, often a second, false, tooth is formed by the apex of the stalk; leaflets to 5 mm wide, unequally arranged and distinctly paired
                       Back to 3
Marsilea costulifera

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