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Marsilea quadrifolia Linnaeus
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Marsilea quadrifolia
© Les Mehrhoff, 2008-2010 · 2
Marsilea quadrifolia

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Marsilea quadrifolia, leaf
© George Yatskievych, 2006-2011 · 1
Marsilea quadrifolia, leaf
Marsilea quadrifolia, roots
© George Yatskievych, 2006-2011 · 1
Marsilea quadrifolia, roots

Marsilea quadrifolia, sporocarps3
© George Yatskievych, 2006-2011 · 1
Marsilea quadrifolia, sporocarps3
Marsilea quadrifolia, whole1
© George Yatskievych, 2006-2011 · 1
Marsilea quadrifolia, whole1

Marsilea quadrifolia
© Copyright Jakob Kagel 2010 · 1
Marsilea quadrifolia
Marsilea quadrifolia
© George Yatskievych, 2003 · 1
Marsilea quadrifolia

Marsilea quadrifolia
© George Yatskievych, 2003 · 1
Marsilea quadrifolia
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Marsilea quadrifolia L.
European waterclover

Image of Marsilea quadrifolia

General Information
Symbol: MAQU
Group: Fern
Family: Marsileaceae
Duration: Perennial
Growth Habit : Forb/herb
Native Status : CAN   N
L48   I
Data Source and Documentation
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Plants-NRCS Logos
green round image for nativity Native blue round image for introduced Introduced ocre round image for introduced and nativity Both white round image for no status Absent/Unreported
image for native, but no county data Native, No County Data image for introduced, but no county data Introduced, No County Data both introduced and native, but no county data Both, No County Data
Native Status:
lower 48 status L48    Alaska status AK    Hawaii status HI    Puerto Rico status PR    Virgin Islands status VI    Navassa Island NAV    Canada status CAN    Greenland status GL    Saint Pierre and Michelon status SPM    North America NA   


click on a thumbnail to view an image, or see all the Marsilea thumbnails at the Plants Gallery

Britton, N.L., and A. Brown. 1913. An illustrated flora of the northern United States, Canada and the British Possessions. 3 vols. Charles Scribner's Sons, New York. Vol. 1: 37. Provided by Kentucky Native Plant Society . Scanned by Omnitek Inc . Usage Requirements .




Click on a scientific name below to expand it in the PLANTS Classification Report.
Rank Scientific Name and Common Name
Kingdom Plantae – Plants
Subkingdom Tracheobionta – Vascular plants
Division Pteridophyta – Ferns
Class Filicopsida
Order Hydropteridales
Family Marsileaceae – Water-clover family
Genus Marsilea L. – waterclover
Species Marsilea quadrifolia L. – European waterclover

Subordinate Taxa

This plant has no children

Legal Status

Noxious Weed Information
This plant is listed by the U.S. federal government or a state. Common names are from state and federal lists. Click on a place name to get a complete noxious weed list for that location, or click here for a composite list of all Federal and State Noxious Weeds .
Connecticut European waterclover Potentially invasive, banned
U.S. Weed Information
Marsilea quadrifolia European waterclover This plant can be weedy or invasive according to the authoritative sources noted below.This plant may be known by one or more common names in different places, and some are listed above. Click on an acronym to view each weed list, or click here for a composite list of Weeds of the U.S.
STATE Assorted authors. State noxious weed lists for 46 states . State agriculture or natural resource departments.

Wetland Status

Interpreting Wetland Status

North America
Atlantic and Gulf Coastal Plain OBL
Eastern Mountains and Piedmont OBL
Midwest OBL
Northcentral & Northeast OBL

Related Links

More Accounts and Images
ARS Germplasm Resources Information Network (MAQU)
Flora of North America (MAQU)
Integrated Taxonomic Information System (MAQU)
Kemper Center for Home Gardening (MAQU)
Related Websites
Invasive Plant Atlas of New England (MAQU)



Source Large Mammals Small Mammals Water Birds Terrestrial Birds


Source Large Mammals Small Mammals Water Birds Terrestrial Birds

Description of Values

Value Class Food Cover

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FNA | Family List | FNA Vol. 2 | Marsileaceae | Marsilea

1. Marsilea quadrifolia Linnaeus, Sp. Pl. 2: 1099. 1753.

Plants forming diffuse clones. Roots arising at nodes and 1--3 on internodes. Petioles 5.4--16.5 cm, sparsely pubescent to glabrous. Pinnae 7--21 × 6--19 mm, sparsely pubescent to glabrous. Sporocarp stalks ascending, frequently branched, attached 1--12 mm above base of petiole; unbranched stalks or ultimate branches of stalks 3--16 mm; common trunk of branched stalks 1--4 mm (rarely 2--3 unbranched stalks attached separately to same petiole). Sporocarps perpendicular to ascending, 4--5.6 × 3--4 mm, 2.3--2.8 mm thick, rounded, oval, or elliptic in lateral view, pubescent but soon glabrate; raphe 1.4--1.9 mm, proximal tooth usually absent, distal tooth absent or 0.1--0.2 mm. Sori 10--17.

Marsilea quadrifolia was introduced in Connecticut about 1860. Many of the localities from which it is known at present are artificial bodies of water. This may indicate intentional introduction of the plant as a curiosity.

Because its leaves are glabrous to essentially glabrous, Marsilea quadrifolia is unlikely to be confused with any other Marsilea in the flora. Likewise, the petioles of the land leaves in this species tend to be procumbent rather than stiffly erect as in the others. The branched sporocarp stalks found in M . quadrifolia are found elsewhere only in M . macropoda ; the latter, however, is a hairy plant and has no distal tooth on the very large sporocarp.

Marsilea minuta Linnaeus, a widespread species in the paleotropics, has recently been collected from the Florida Panhandle. It resembles M . quadrifolia in having roots both at the nodes and on the internodes and in having relatively glabrous land leaves, but it has sporocarps that are only 1.3--1.7 mm thick, with a distal tooth 0.3--0.6 mm long. Marsilea minuta also has a tendency for the terminal margins of the land leaves to be crenate rather than entire.

Updated: 2020-09-19 10:15:17 gmt
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