Marsilea - Marsileaceae

Marsilea farinosa Launert ssp. arrecta J.E. Burrows






Common name


Floating form: stipe up to 20 cm long. Leaflets up to 10-21 × 11-22 mm, broadly obdeltate, almost hairless,outer margin rounded, wavy. Dry land form: stipe up to 12 cm long, with bristly hairs. Leaflets up to 4-15 × 3-15 mm, obdeltate, set with a mixture of hairs, becoming subglabrous with age, outer margins lobed. Sporocarps: in clusters, bean-shaped, 4.5-7 mm long, 2.5-4.5 mm high, 1.5-2.25 mm thick, upper side straight or concave, under and outer side rounded, vertical cross-section rectangular; lateral ribs 8-11, not conspicuous in mature specimens; lower tooth absent or very shallow hump, upper tooth present, sharply obtuse to acute. Sporocarp densely covered with hairs of 2 kinds, erect and flattened appressed, which in the dried state cause the powdery greyish appearance of the sporocarp. Sporocarps set at an angle of 180° to the pedicel; pedicels 8-15 mm, erect or arching, free, arising from both the base of the stipe and the axils of the stipe, with bristly hairs.


It differs from other species by its hispid appearance created by the 2 kinds of hairs. It differs from M. farinosa subsp. farinosa by the angle at which the sporacarps are held to the pedicel: 90° in subsp. farinosa, 180° in subsp. arrecta


farinosa: powdery or with meal-like covering, alluding to the greyish appearance created by the hairs that cover much of the plant.
arrecta: erect; referring to the erect sporocarps.


In mud in seasonally flooded pans and man-made depressions.

Distribution worldwide

See African distribution.

Distribution in Africa

Botswana, South Africa.

Growth form

Aquatic, terrestrial.


  • Burrows, J.E. (1990) Southern African Ferns and Fern Allies. Frandsen, Sandton. Pages 73 - 74. (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 244 - 247. (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 56.
  • Roux, J.P. (2001) Conspectus of Southern African Pteridophyta.Southern African Botanical Diversity Network Report, 13 Page 176.