Marsilea - Marsileaceae

Marsilea apposita Launert

Photo: P. Ballings

Photo: P. Ballings

Photo: P. Ballings

Photo: P. Ballings






Common name


Floating form: stipe up to 30 cm long, usually hairless. Leaflets up to 26 × 25 mm, broadly obdeltate, outer margin rounded, entire, hairless. Dry land form: stipe up to 8 cm long. Leaflets ± 7 × 5 mm, narrowly obdeltate, outer margins deeply crenate, slightly hairy at beginning. Sporocarps: 3-4 mm long, 2-3.25 mm high, 1.5-2 mm thick, brown, almost rectangular in lateral view, upper side shallowly concave, under side convex, outer side rounded, vertical cross-section narrowly rectangular, continuous shallow groove from upper over outer and along lower side; densely hairy when young becoming hairless with age; inferior tooth a shallow hump or absent, superior tooth rather short, subacute; lateral ribs hardly visible in mature specimens; pedicels up to 8 mm long, cylindrical, wiry, erect or arching, 2 or 3 uniting at the base, sometimes solitary, arising from the axil of the stipe.


Recognizable by the prominent upper tooth on the sporocarp, 2 or 3 pedicels uniting at base, sporocarps rectangular outline in vertical cross-section.


apposita: side by side, the pedicels are united in twos or threes at the base giving the sporocarps a closely packed appearance.


Sandy wet soil in river beds, edge of seasonal pools.

Distribution worldwide

See African distribution.

Distribution in Africa

Botswana, South Africa, Zimbabwe.

Growth form

Aquatic, terrestrial.


  • Burrows, J.E. (1990) Southern African Ferns and Fern Allies. Frandsen, Sandton. Page 76. (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 254 - 255. (Includes a picture).
  • Jacobsen, W.B.G. (1983) The Ferns and Fern Allies of Southern Africa. Butterworths, Durban and Pretoria. Page 485. (Includes a picture).
  • Roux, J.P. (2001) Conspectus of Southern African Pteridophyta.Southern African Botanical Diversity Network Report, 13 Pages 174 - 175.
  • Roux, J.P. (2009) Synopsis of the Lycopodiophyta and Pteridophyta of Africa, Madagascar and neighbouring islands. Strelitzia 23, South African National Biodiversity Institute, Pretoria. Page 55.
  • Schelpe, E.A.C.L.E. (1970) Pteridophyta.Flora Zambesiaca, 0 Pages 65 - 66.