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Marcus, Joseph A.
Marsilea vestita Hook. & Grev.
Hairy water clover, Water clover
Synonym(s): Marsilea fournieri, Marsilea minuta, Marsilea mucronata, Marsilea tenuifolia, Marsilea uncinata, Marsilea vestita ssp. tenuifolia, Marsilea vestita ssp. vestita, Marsilea vestita var. mucronata
USDA Symbol: MAVE2
USDA Native Status: L48 (N), CAN (N)
Small aquatic or wetland plant, forming dense colonies in mud or shallow water. Leaves produced on long petioles, 2 to 20 mm.
Marsilea vestita looks like a four-leaf clover, but is really a relative of ferns. Bright green leaves are lush in moist soil or a pond. Grows very vigorously and may become a nuisance if not kept in check. Try it in a pot without drainage holes and keep moist. If foliage becomes dried or brown, cut it back. New growth regenerates quickly if kept moist. It is less aggressive and has smoother leaves than Marsilea macropoda.
Plant CharacteristicsDuration: Perennial Habit: Herb
, Fern Size Notes:
Less than 1 Leaf:
Fruit: Size Class:
Bloom InformationBloom Color: Not Applicable
Bloom Notes: Not a flowering plant. Related to ferns, has spores.
, WY Canada: AB
, SK Native Distribution:
Alberta, British Columbia, and Saskatachewan south through much of the western and southeastern United States to Mexico. Western South America. In
Texas, rare on the Edwards Plateau, in Travis county in the Blackland prairies, and in the south part of the plains country. Native Habitat: On
the edge of lakes, in shallow beds of creeks, and in periodically inundated depressions.
Growing ConditionsWater Use: Medium , High
Light Requirement: Part Shade
Soil Moisture: Wet
Cold Tolerant: yes
BenefitUse Ornamental: Good in water gardens, but should be potted to keep it in bounds.
Interesting Foliage: yes
Deer Resistant: Moderate
PropagationPropagation Material: Root Division
Maintenance: If becomes too aggressive, thin it out. If foliage becomes dried or brown, cut it back. New growth regenerates quickly if kept moist.
Mr. Smarty Plants says
Ground cover for partly sunny, wet area in Cypress, TX
March 19, 2007
I am in need of a ground cover to plant in an area close to our entryway. The area is shady to partly sunny, holds water in rainy weather, and has a shrub border. We are in Texas. Any ideas? Thank...
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National Wetland Indicator Status
This information is derived from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers National Wetland Plant List, Version 3.1
(Lichvar, R.W. 2013. The National Wetland Plant List: 2013 wetland ratings. Phytoneuron 2013-49: 1-241). Click here
for map of regions.
From the National Organizations Directory
According to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is either on display or available from the following:
Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center
- Austin, TX
Herbarium Specimen(s)NPSOT 1122
Collected Feb 22, 1995 in Bexar County by Harry Cliffe
Record Last Modified: 2009-03-08
Research By: NPIS, ADA, LAL