Marsilea - Marsileaceae

Marsilea botryocarpa F.Ballard






Common name


Rhizome long creeping. Stipes very slender, 4–24 cm long, with scattered long soft hairs. Leaflets obtriangular in outline, 0.7–3 cm long, 0.5–2.7 cm wide, hairless on the upper, with scattered long soft hairs on the lower surface, sides straight or slightly concave, the outer margin rounded, deeply irregular crenate. Pedicels equalling or twice the height of the sporocarp, united, forming branches of a dichotomously branched common peduncle-like structure. Sporocarps in up to 3 loose clusters of 14–17, borne midway along the stipe, dark brown to blackish when mature, shallowly saddle-shaped to bean-shaped, 5–5.5 mm long, 3–3.5 mm wide, 1.5–2 mm thick, appressed pilose when young, later glabrous, not distinctly bordered but with the centre part laterally somewhat bulging; lateral ribs not visible in mature sporocarps; lateral veins (as seen on the interior surface) not anastomosing; raphe present, covering 1/2–2/3 the length of the sporocarp base; inferior tooth indicated by a very shallow hump; superior tooth prominent, short, subacute. Sori 6–8.



bortryocarpa: botrys: grape, carpus: fruit; clustered seeds, referring to the sporocarps that are held in loose clusters.


Seasonal pools and waterholes.

Distribution worldwide

See African distribution.

Distribution in Africa


Growth form

Aquatic, terrestrial.


  • Launert, E. (2003) Marsileaceae.Flora of Tropical East Africa, Page 10. (Includes a picture).
  • 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.