Marsilea - Marsileaceae

Marsilea coromandelina Willd.

Photo: P. Ballings

Photo: P. Ballings

Photo: P. Ballings






Marsilea trichocarpa Bremek.

Common name


Floating form: Description?. Dry land form: stipe up to 9 cm long, hairless. Leaflets 2-10 mm long, 1.25-8 mm wide, narrowly obcuneate-obdeltate, outer margins subentire to finely incised, hairless with translucent streaks between the veins. Sporocarps: solitairy, 2-4 mm long, 1.5-2.7 mm high, 1-2 mm thick, brown to greyish brown, subcircular-elliptic in lateral view, vertical cross-section lemon-shaped, with appressed hairs, lateral ribs prominent; lower tooth a rounded to pointed hump, upper tooth a prominent hump with an acute point; pedicels up to 17 mm long, slender, free, upright or ascending, 1 arising from axil of the stipe.


Recognizable as a delicate, often rather small fern with very narrow pinnae that have distinctive translucent streaks between the veins; the sporocarp is clearly lemon-shaped in cross-section and has prominent lateral ribs.


coromandelina: named after the type locality at the Coromandel coast (south-eastern tip of India)


Arid bushveld regions, upper limits of seasonal or temporal vleis and pans, edge of lakes and rivers.
In Zimbabwe confined to dry lowveld in Gonaredzu Reserve (Jacobsen, 1983)

Distribution worldwide

Africa, Madagascar, socotra and India.

Distribution in Africa

Angola, Botswana, Burkina Fasso, Burundi, Eritrea, Guinea Bissau, Malawi, Mozambique, Senegal, South Africa, Sudan and South Sudan, Tanzania , Zimbabwe.

Growth form



  • Burrows, J.E. (1990) Southern African Ferns and Fern Allies. Frandsen, Sandton. Pages 68 - 70. (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 234 - 235. (Includes a picture).
  • Jacobsen, W.B.G. (1983) The Ferns and Fern Allies of Southern Africa. Butterworths, Durban and Pretoria. Pages 477 - 478. (Includes a picture).
  • Roux, J.P. (2001) Conspectus of Southern African Pteridophyta. Southern African Botanical Diversity Network Report, 13 Page 175.