Marsilea - Marsileaceae

Marsilea aethiopica Launert






Common name


Rhizome slender, wiry, repeatedly branched, nodes densely hairy, internodes scattered hairy, up to 50 mm long in terrestrial forms, up to 110 mm long in aquatic forms. Leaves up to 45 mm long in dry land forms, much longer in aquatic forms. Stipe terete, initially sparsely hairy, later smooth. Leaflets firmly herbaceous, narrow cuneate in terrestrial forms, up to 6 x 4.5 mm, outer edges rounded or shallowly bilobed, smooth on upper surface, sparsely hairy on the undersurface, later almost hairless; venation net-like arranged, barely visible in land forms. Sporocarps solitary at stipe base, pedicels up to 9 mm long, erect, rigid, initially hairy, capsule subrectangular to obliquely subrectangular, or axe-shaped in lateral view, up to 2.5 x 2.5 mm, dorsally straight or saddle-shaped, ventrally straight or gently curved, without a frontal furrow, lateral sides without a groove, densely set with appressed hairs, later usually hairless, raphe present, but mostly indistinct, inferior tooth a low hump, superior tooth prominent, conical, straight.




Along slow running streams, sunny; in irrigated fields.

Distribution worldwide

See African distribution.

Distribution in Africa

Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia.

Growth form



  • Hedberg, I; Friis, Ib & Persson, E (2009) Lycopodiaceae to Pinaceae.Flora of Ethiopia and Eritrea, vol.1 Page 90.
  • 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.