Marsilea - Marsileaceae

Marsilea minuta L. var. incurva (A.Braun) Launert






Marsilea diffusa A.Braun var. incurva A.Braun
Marsilea crenulata Desv. var. incurva (A.Braun) A.Braun
Marsilea senegalensis Baker
Marsilea crenulata Desv. var. senegalensis (A.Braun) C.Chr.

Common name


Rhizome slender to fairly stout, long creeping, repeatedly branched, internodes 0.5–20 cm long.Floating form: stipe slender, up to 25 cm long. Leaflets obtriangular to broadly obtriangular in outline, 0.4–2.5(–3) cm long, 0.3–2.2(–2.8) cm wide, usually hairless, with brownish suberose streaks between the veins on the lower surface; sides varying from straight to convex, rarely concave; outer margin rounded, entire. Dry land from: stipe slender, 2–8(–15) cm long, usually hairless. Leaflets obtriangular to broadly obtriangular, 0.4–2.5(–3) cm long, 0.3–2.2(–2.8) cm wide, sparsely set with long hairs; sides varying from straight to convex, rarely concave; outer margin entire, sinuate or crenulate. Sporocarps usually crowded, more rarely in groups of 2 or 3, very rarely solitary, extremely variable in size, usually black at maturity, broadly elliptic, rectangular-elliptic to rarely subcircular in lateral view, narrowly elliptic to rectangular-elliptic or rarely biscuit-shaped in dorso-ventral cross-section, (4.5–)5–6(–6.2) mm long, 3–5 mm high, with the dried surface coarsely wrinkled or rarely smooth (except for hair scars); its long axis usually at an angle exceeding 90° to the pedicel which is usually shorter than the sporocarp is long; lower and upper tooth prominent, upper tooth as long as or slightly longer than lower tooth. Pedicels 3-7 mm long, cylindrical, stout, erect or gently curved upwards, free or or united to some extent with 2 or 3 (rarely 4) others, arising from the leaf axil or the base of the stipe, sometimes one above the other. Sori 8–12.



minuta: very small, unclear since no parts of the plant are extremely small.


Drainage channels in open woodland, seasonal waterhole on black cotton soil, 50-550m.

Distribution worldwide

See African distribution.

Distribution in Africa

Ghana, Kenya, Senegal, Tanzania .

Growth form

Aquatic, terrestrial.


  • Launert, E. (2003) Marsileaceae.Flora of Tropical East Africa, Pages 10 - 12. (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 57.