Marsilea minuta is quite close to Marsilea quadrifolia, and in fact specimens of Marsilea from China seem intermediate between the two species in sporocarp size and peduncle attachment. Study of a wide range of Old World material of Marsilea would be required, however, to resolve the question of whether Marsilea quadrifolia and Marsilea minuta represent distinct species[
Marsilea crenulata Desv.
Marsilea diffusa Lepr.
Marsilea perrieriana C.Chr.
Marsilea polycarpa Hook. & Grev.
Common Name: Water Clover
Plants growing in shallow water
Photograph by: LiChieh Pan
Water clover is a small, creeping fern with erect 4-foliolate leaves, arising solitary from the nodes on a long creeping rhizome, rooting at the nodes
Water clover is planted as an ornamental pot plant and is used more commonly as a garden plant for pond decoration[
Marsilea minuta has a wide native range. It is the most widely distributed and common fern in India with few or no threats. The plant is classified as 'Least Concern' in the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species(2011)[
Widely spread throughout Africa, including Madagascar and the Comoros; also found widely through tropical Asia.
Shallow pools; edges of rivers; rocks underneath waterfalls; water holes; seasonally dried up river beds; seasonally flooded grassland depressions; rice fields. Often forming large and dense colonies[
|Conservation Status||Least Concern
The plant can become a nuisance in wet rice fields, because it forms large and dense colonies[
The bright green leaves are tender and are eaten as a potherb[
The extract of whole plants is used as aphrodisiac and for increased fertility[
]. The leaves are pounded, cooked with rice and then eaten as a treatment for indigestion[
The leaf juice is used to stop nose bleeding[
]. The leaves are rolled in a leaf of Shorea robusta, the whole is then boiled and then applied to swollen gums in order to reduce the swelling[
When fed to gerbils, a leaf extract reduced cholesterol and triglyceride levels in blood and liver substantially. Moreover, the treatment prevented the accumulation of these compounds in the liver and aorta and dissolved atheromatous plaques of thoracic and abdominal aortas[
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