Pteridophytes (Spore Producing Plants: Ferns and More) • Earth.com

Waterclover

(Marsilea)

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Description

Marsilea is a genus of approximately 65 species of aquatic ferns of the family Marsileaceae. The name honours Italian naturalist Luigi Ferdinando Marsigli (1656-1730). These small plants are of unusual appearance and do not resemble common ferns. Common names include water clover and four-leaf clover because the long-stalked leaves have four clover-like lobes and are either held above water or submerged. The sporocarps of some Australian species are very drought-resistant, surviving up to 100 years in dry conditions. On wetting, the gelatinous interior of the sporocarp swells, splitting it and releasing a worm-like mass that carries sori, eventually leading to germination of spores and fertilization.

Taxonomic tree:

Domain:
Kingdom: Plantae
Phylum: Pteridophyta
Class: Filicopsida
Order:Salviniales
Family:Marsileaceae
Genus:Marsilea
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