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Plant Name        Marsilea quadrifolia      

                Common name: Water Clover   

                Marathi:              Girjala 

                Hindi:                   Sushni  

                English:                European water clover                 


Identification guide


Water clover is a deciduous, aquatic fern producing clumps of leaves up to 15 - 20cm tall at intervals along a long, creeping, much-branched rhizome. Thin green stalks rise from the rhizome to the water surface, each stalk bearing a single shamrock-like leaf with four wedge-shaped leaflets. The plant forms dense stands, or has a random growing pattern


straw colour to light green, circular in section, glabrous.


quadrifoliate – divided into 4 leaflets), located at the apices of slender piotles, slightly submerged, floating. Leaflets are obovate in shape with straight margin and convex outer margins, pale green to bluish green in colour.


these are the spore bearing bodies located near the bases of petioles on short penduncles. Sporocarps are reddish brown or dark brown, young sporocarps are yellow- hairy, while older sporocarps glabrous.

Root system

long slender rhizomes, produces basal leaves at their nodes, fibrous roots are produces at the nodes. 


Habit / Habitat

Herbaceous, perennial fern

It grows in aquatic environments such as ponds, riverine, wetlands and streams.             



 It is widespread and native to southern and central Europe to China and Japan . It naturally occurs in western Siberia, Afganistan, Southwest India and considered a weed in some parts of the USA .                


Edible parts

Used by tribal community in Jawhar        Leaves


Method of consumption

Jawhar tribal      Leaves are boiled and cooked as a vegetable

Medicinal use

The plant is anti-inflammatory, diuretic, depurative, febrifuge and refrigerant.

A juice made from the leaves is diuretic and febrifuge.

The plant is also applied externally in the treatment of snakebites and skin injuries, including abscesses.


Nutritional and medicinal information

Pharmaceutical significance

 Literature review:

  1. A study carried out on the aerial parts of the M.quadrifolia indicated that the chloroform and ethyl acetate extracts have got profound antibacterial, cytotoxic and antioxidant properties.
  2. The scavenging activity of the plant extract through the annihilation of the DPPH radicals was investigated which concluded that the methanolic extract of this semi-aquatic plant showed higher antioxidant activity than ethanolic extract.


Propagation and Storage

 Season of collection


 How to grow it?

Sporocarps need to scraped and immersed in water which will swell and burst to release spores. These spores germinate immediately. First root and shoots appear in 2-3days2.

Method of storage

1) Spores - Difficult to store and mostly occurs in wild.


Other uses

1) It is known as a famine food and eaten only in time of scarcity.

2) The Santal Tribe residing in Rajshahi District, Bangladesh use the plant if the mother isn’t able to produce enough breast milk after childbirth. The whole plant of Centella asiatica including roots is crushed with whole plant of Marsilea quadrifoliata including roots to make a paste. The paste is applied twice daily for 7 days around the nipple.



Kingdom:            Plantae

Division:              Pteridophyta

Class:                    Polypodiopsida

Order:                   Salviniales

Family:                Marsileaceae

Genus:                 Marsilea

Species:              quadrifolia







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