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Marcus, Joseph A.
Marsilea macropoda Engelm. ex A. Braun
Bigfoot water clover, Water clover, Clover-fern
USDA Symbol: mama9
USDA Native Status: Native to U.S.
Bigfoot water clover is a robust perennial which forms large mats in wet sands and mud. Attractive, four-leaf clover-like leaves stand erect to 10 in. in height. These leaves are downy textured when young, and stay green except for a short time in winter. This is a spore-producing plant and is thus more closely allied with the ferns than with perennial forbs.
Plant CharacteristicsDuration: Perennial Habit: Herb
, Fern Size Notes:
6-10 inches tall. Leaf:
Fruit: Size Class:
Bloom InformationBloom Color: Not Applicable
Bloom Notes: Not a flowering plant. Reproduces by spores.
AL , FL , LA , TX Native Distribution:
Rio Grande Plains to Victoria, Austin, and edge of Edwards Plateau. Apparently endemic
to Texas. Native Habitat:
In mud or sandy soil and water of swamps, marshes, woodland bogs, ditches, streams, and on the edge of ponds and lakes. USDA Native Status: L48(N)
Growing ConditionsWater Use: Medium , High
Light Requirement: Sun , Part Shade , Shade
Soil Moisture: Wet
Heat Tolerant: yes
Soil Description: Wet or poorly drained sand or loam (mud). Sand, sandy loam, medium loam, clay loam.
Conditions Comments: The more shade its in, the less water it requires.
BenefitUse Ornamental: Water clover can be used as a groundcover. Good for wetland gardens and habitats.
Interesting Foliage: yes
Deer Resistant: Moderate
PropagationPropagation Material: Root Division
Maintenance: Very aggressive, so thin it out when desired. Cut it back whenever it looks untidy; the lush growth will quickly return.
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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Record Modified: 2009-03-08
Research By: TWC Staff