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Water Clover (Marsilea quadrifolia)

Common Name Latin Name Plant Family
Water Clover
Marsilea quadrifolia

None known

  • Medicinal Use

    A juice made from the leaves is diuretic and febrifuge[218]. It is also used to treat snakebite and applied to abscesses etc[218].

    The plant is anti-inflammatory, diuretic, depurative, febrifuge and refrigerant[147, 178, 218].

  • Edible Use

    Young stems and leaves[105, 145]. A famine food, only used in times of scarcity[218].

    The spores are produced in a sporocarp (like a fairly large container) and in allied species this is ground up and mixed with flour etc and used in making bread etc. It is rich in starch[144].

  • Cautionary Notes

    Although we have found no reports of toxicity for this species, a number of ferns contain carcinogens so some caution is advisable[200]. Many ferns also contain thiaminase, an enzyme that robs the body of its vitamin B complex. In small quantities this enzyme will do no harm to people eating an adequate diet that is rich in vitamin B, though large quantities can cause severe health problems. The enzyme is destroyed by heat or thorough drying, so cooking the plant will remove the thiaminase[172].

Cultivation & Habitat

Spores. The plant produces sporocarps, these need to be lightly abraded and then immersed in water. The sporocarps will then swell and burst to release the spores. The spores germinate immediately, the highly developed prothallus remains inside the large seed-like spores. The gametophyte generation is completed in 24 hours and the first roots and shoots appear in 2 – 3 days. Mature plants bearing sporocarps can develop in as little as 3 months[200]. Division.
Requires a permanently moist or wet soil, it can be grown by the side of ponds etc or in the shallow edges of the pond[56]. Thrives in a turfy loam or in peat[1]. Hardy to about -15¡c[200]. Members of this genus are rarely if ever troubled by browsing deer[233].
C. Europe to Asia.

Become ungovernable, break the chains of the matrix; grow and forage your own food and medicine.

*None of the information on this website qualifies as professional medical advice. Take only what resonates with your heart and use your own personal responsibility for what’s best for you. For more information [brackets] [000], see bibliography.