Salvinia - Salviniaceae

Salvinia hastata Desv.






Salvinia mollis Desv.
Salvinia hildebrandtii Baker

Common name


Rhizome horizontal, c. 1 mm. in diameter, upper surface with dark-brown multicellular hairs up to 2 mm. long. Leaves: floating leaves opposite, oblong in outline, sometimes slightly broadened towards the base, apex notched, base cordate to almost truncate, flat (or infolded along the midrib when leaves closely spaced), up to 2 x 1.3 cm, upper surface papillate with minute whitish simple multicellular hairs, pilose beneath with brownish multicellular hairs; submerged leaf dissected, up to 6.5 cm. long, lobes densely set with dark-brown multicellular hairs up to 3 mm. long. Sporocarps up to 6, arranged in 2 rows along the midrib of one dissected leaf-lobe, spherical, hairy.


Differs from other species by having more oblong leaves with a truncate apex and heartshaped base, the apex of the leaf-papilla does not have an open basket of 4 curved cells.


hastata: spearshaped, not a very good description since the leaves are more heartshaped than spearshaped at the base.


Sluggish streams and backwaters.

Distribution worldwide

Africa, Madagascar, Mascarene Islands.

Distribution in Africa

Benin, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Tanzania .

Growth form



  • Jacobsen, W.B.G. (1983) The Ferns and Fern Allies of Southern Africa. Butterworths, Durban and Pretoria. Pages 491 - 492. (Includes a picture).
  • Roux, J.P. (2001) Conspectus of Southern African Pteridophyta.Southern African Botanical Diversity Network Report, 13 Page 178.
  • 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 59.
  • Schelpe, E.A.C.L.E. (1970) Pteridophyta.Flora Zambesiaca, 0 Pages 67 - 68. (Includes a picture).
  • Verdcourt, B. (2000) Salviniaceae.Flora of Tropical East Africa, Pages 1 - 2. (Includes a picture).