Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center
Western Wetland Flora
Field Office Guide to Plant Species
Hairy Water Fern
Marsilea uestita Hook. & Grev.
- Family: Water Fern (Marsileaceae)
- Spores: May-October
- Field Marks: This aquatic fern is readily recognized by its four-leaf clover shaped leaves and the hairy fruiting bodies.
- Habitat: Ponds, pools, creeks, roadside ditches, usually in shallow water.
- Habit: Perennial fern with slender, branching rhizomes.
- Stems: All under water as rhizomes.
- Leaves: Divided into 4 leaflets resembling a four-leaf clover, each leaflet shaped like an upside-down triangle, up to 1 inch long, up to 1 inch wide, without teeth, smooth or hairy.
- Sori: Borne in hard, ellipsoid structures (sporocarps), each sporocarp solitary on stalks attached to the rhizomes, up to 1/3 inch long, up to 1/8 inch thick, with short, appressed hairs.
- Notes: Plants stranded on land tend to be much hairier than those that live in water.
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