Marsilea minuta L.
var. minuta

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Marsilea minuta var. minuta

Photo: Petra Ballings
Mana Pools

Marsilea minuta var. minuta

Photo: Petra Ballings
Mana Pools

Marsilea minuta var. minuta

Photo: Bart Wursten
Mana Pools

Marsilea minuta var. minuta

Photo: Bart Wursten
Mana Pools

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Species details: Click on each item to see an explanation of that item (Note: opens a new window)

Synonyms: Marsilea crenulata Desv.
Marsilea diffusa Lepr. ex A. Braun
Marsilea tenax Peter
Common names:
Floating form: stipe up to 26 cm long, slender, hairless. Leaflets up to 15-28 × 10-29 mm, broadly obovate, outer margin rounded, entire to shallowly irregular, hairless, brownish suberous streaks between the veins of the lower surface. Dry land form: stipe up to 13 (15) cm long. Leaflets up to 6-13 × 4-10 mm, obovate, outer margins subentire to shallowly incised, slightly hairy. Sporocarps: clustered in groups of 2-5, size variable, average 3-4 × 2.4-3 mm, 0.8-1.4 mm thick, dark brown to almost matt black, broadly oblong-elliptic in lateral view, outer side rounded, vertical cross-section elliptic; densely appressed hairy when young becoming quite hairless with age; 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 branching once, arising from the leaf axil or the base of the stipe, sometimes one above the other.
Notes: Not listed for Botswana in Germishuizen & Meyer, Strelitzia 14 (2003).
Derivation of specific name: minuta: very small, unclear since no parts of the plant are extremely small.
Worldwide distribution: It covers almost the entire African continent, from Algeria to tropical West, Equatorial and East Africa, southwards to Angola, Zambia, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, South Africa, Eswatini. Also known from Comoros, Madagascar, the Mascarenes, India and possibly
Botswana distribution:
Growth form(s): Aquatic, terrestrial.
Endemic status:
Red data list status:
Insects associated with this species:
Spot characters: Display spot characters for this species

Burrows, J.E. (1990). Southern African Ferns and Fern Allies. Frandsen, Sandton. Page 72. (Includes a picture).

Burrows, J.E. & Burrows, S.M. (1993). An annotated check-list of the pteridophytes of Malawi Kirkia 14(1) Page 83. As Marsilea minuta L.

Crouch, N.R., Klopper, R.R., Burrows, J.E. & Burrows, S.M. (2011). Ferns of Southern Africa, A comprehensive guide Struik Nature Pages 238 - 239. (Includes a picture).

Da Silva, M.C., Izidine, S. & Amude, A.B. (2004). A preliminary checklist of the vascular plants of Mozambique. Southern African Botanical Diversity Network Report No. 30 Sabonet, Pretoria Page 12.

Jacobsen, W.B.G. (1983). The Ferns and Fern Allies of Southern Africa. Butterworths, Durban and Pretoria. Pages 479 - 480. (Includes a picture).

Kornas, J. (1979). Distribution and ecology of the Pteridophytes in Zambia Polska Akademia Nauk Wydzial II Nauk Biologicznych Page 121.

Mapaura, A. & Timberlake, J. (eds) (2004). A checklist of Zimbabwean vascular plants Southern African Botanical Diversity Network Report No. 33 Sabonet, Pretoria and Harare Page 8.

Roux, J.P. (2001). Conspectus of Southern African Pteridophyta. Southern African Botanical Diversity Network Report 13 Page 176.

Roux, J.P. (2009). Synopsis of the Lycopodiophyta and Pteridophyta of Africa, Madagascar and neighbouring islands Pages 56 - 57.

Schelpe, E.A.C.L.E. (1970). Pteridophyta Flora Zambesiaca Pages 60 - 62. (Includes a picture).

Setshogo, M.P. (2005). Preliminary checklist of the plants of Botswana. Sabonet Report no. 37. Sabonet, Pretoria and Gaborone Page 15.

Other sources of information about Marsilea minuta var. minuta:

Our websites:

Flora of Caprivi: Marsilea minuta var. minuta
Flora of Malawi: Marsilea minuta var. minuta
Flora of Mozambique: Marsilea minuta var. minuta
Flora of Zambia: Marsilea minuta var. minuta
Flora of Zimbabwe: Marsilea minuta var. minuta

External websites:

African Plants: A Photo Guide (Senckenberg): Marsilea minuta
African Plant Database: Marsilea minuta
BHL (Biodiversity Heritage Library): Marsilea minuta
EOL (Encyclopedia of Life): Marsilea minuta
GBIF (Global Biodiversity Information Facility): Marsilea minuta
Google: Web - Images - Scholar
iNaturalist: Marsilea minuta
IPNI (International Plant Names Index): Marsilea minuta
JSTOR Plant Science: Marsilea minuta
Mansfeld World Database of Agricultural and Horticultural Crops: Marsilea minuta
Plants of the World Online: Marsilea minuta
Tropicos: Marsilea minuta
Wikipedia: Marsilea minuta

Copyright: Mark Hyde, Bart Wursten, Petra Ballings and Meg Coates Palgrave, 2014-24

Hyde, M.A., Wursten, B.T., Ballings, P. & Coates Palgrave, M. (2024). Flora of Botswana: Species information: Marsilea minuta var. minuta., retrieved 28 May 2024

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