Electronic Flora of South Australia
Electronic Flora of South Australia
Census of SA Plants, Algae & Fungi
Identification tools

Electronic Flora of South Australia genus Fact Sheet

Family: Marsileaceae

Citation: L., Sp. Pl. 1099 (1753).

Derivation: After L. F. Marsigli, an Italian naturalist whose name was Latinised as Marsilius.

Synonymy: Not Applicable

Common name: Nardoos.

Rhizome long-creeping, fronds scattered along it; lamina of 2 pairs of opposite leaflets, the leaflets narrow- to broadly obovate, glabrous or hairy; margins entire or shallowly or deeply crenate; sporocarps solitary or in groups at the base of or along the stipes, hard and woody, oblong to globose, ellipsoid, hairy, ribbed or smooth, with 1 or 2 basal teeth; sori attached to a gelatinous ring which is extruded.

image of FSA1_Marsilea2.jpg habit
Image source: fig. 47a in Jessop J.P. & Toelken H.R. (Ed.) 1986. Flora of South Australia (4th edn).

Distribution:  About 60 species, cosmopolitan, 7 in Australia.

Biology: Most species of Marsilea are widespread throughout Australia. They occur in a wide range of habitats from permanent water to ephemeral streams and flood plains. In most species the fronds are variable as regards to the length of the stipe, size and shape of the leaflets and hairiness. Aquatic floating leaves of M. drummondii are, for example, almost glabrous while plants from dry areas are densely hairy. Vegetative parts of most species are similar and are unreliable for positive identification.

Key to Species:
1. Fronds and stem glabrous except for a few occasional hairs at the base of the leaflets; peduncles of sporocarps larger than the sporocarp, solitary or fused together near their base; sporocarp spherical, lacking teeth
M. mutica 5.
1. Fronds and stem hairy at least in the young parts; peduncles of sporophytes shorter or longer than the sporocarp, solitary; sporocarp distinctly compressed, possessing teeth
2. Peduncle of sporocarp 1.5-10 times the length of the sporocarp
M. drummondii 2.
2. Peduncle of sporocarp shorter than the sporocarp
3. Sporocarps c. 2.5 mm long, sparsely hairy and soon becoming glabrous, un-ribbed, surface microscopically reticulate; teeth unequal, the upper one spinose
M. crenata 1.
3. Sporocarps 3-6 mm long, densely hairy, distinctly or obscurely ribbed, sometimes unribbed, surface smooth; teeth equal or unequal, not spinose
4. Upper side of sporocarp fiat or concave, apex pointed; lower tooth longer, usually recurved
M. exarata 3.
4. Upper side of sporocarp flat or convex, apex rounded; teeth 1 or 2, the lower one not recurved
5. Leaflets narrowly oblanceolate, 3-5 mm broad, unequally arranged and more or less paired, teeth of sporocarp unequal
M. sp 6.
5. Leaflets narrowly to very broadly obovate-cuneate, 5-13 mm broad, equally arranged, teeth of sporocarp equal in length
M. hirsuta 4.

Author: Not yet available

Disclaimer Copyright Disclaimer Copyright Email Contact:
State Herbarium of South Australia
Government of South Australia Government of South Australia Government of South Australia Department for Environment and Water