Marsilea - Marsileaceae

Marsilea burchellii (Kunze) A. Br.






Marsilea quadrifolia L. var. burchellii Kunze
Marsilea macrocarpa C.Presl var. burchellii (A.Braun) Sim
Marsilea biloba Willd.
Marsilea macrocarpa C.Presl var. biloba (Willd.) Sim

Common name


Floating form: stipe up to 6 cm long, slender; leaflets up to 8 × 6 mm, obovate, outer margin rounded, entire, hairless. Dry land form: stipe up to 3.5 mm long, leaflets yp to 4 × 2.5 mm, narrowly obovate to suborbicular, margins entire, hairless above and variously set with long hairs below. Sporocarps: solitary or 2 together, blakish when old, 1.25-2.5 mm long, 1.5-2 mm high, 0.6-1.5 mm thick, saddle-shaped, upper side deeply concave, lower side rounded, subcircular to squarish in lateral view, broadly oval or lemon-shaped in dorsoventral cross-section; set with long hairs when young, hairless when mature; lateral ribs not visible in mature specimens; lower tooth absent, upper tooth present, narrow and sharp or short and obtuse; pedicels up to 10 mm long, slender, erect, straight or slightly curved, free, 1 or 2 arising from the axil of the stipe.



burchellii: named after W.J. Burchell (1781-1863), English botanical and zoological collector.


Vleis, edges of ponds, pools or along water courses, usually in muddy or black turfy soil.

Distribution worldwide

See African distribution.

Distribution in Africa

Botswana, Namibia, South Africa.

Growth form

Aquatic, terrestrial.


  • Burrows, J.E. (1990) Southern African Ferns and Fern Allies. Frandsen, Sandton. Page 79. (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 262 - 263. (Includes a picture).
  • Jacobsen, W.B.G. (1983) The Ferns and Fern Allies of Southern Africa. Butterworths, Durban and Pretoria. Pages 488 - 489. (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.
  • Roux, J.P. (2001) Conspectus of Southern African Pteridophyta.Southern African Botanical Diversity Network Report, 13 Page 175.
  • Schelpe, E.A.C.L.E. (1970) Pteridophyta.Flora Zambesiaca, 0 Page 66.