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Floating herbs, often forming a dense mat over still waters, rhizome fine, horizontal, freely branching, hairy, rootless, protostelic. Leaves in whorls of 3, 2 leaf-like and floating, the other finely divided, submerged and rootlike, floating leaves papillose with hairs in groups of 4 above, smooth with solitary hairs below. Sporangia borne in sporocarps, the sporocarps on the branches of the root-like leaves, enclosed in a thin indusium, the sporocarps of 2 types, microsporocarp with many small microsporangia each with many microspores, megasporocarp with a few megasporangia, each containing a single megaspore; spores globose, trilete.


A monogeneric family of possibly 10 species, from most of the warmer parts of the world. Salvinia molesta is the sole introduced species in Papuasia.


Croft, J.R. 1985. Salviniaceae. In Leach, G.J. & Osborne, P.L., Fresh water plants of Papua New Guinea. Univ. P.N.G., Port Moresby. pp. 66 - 68.

Herzog, R. 1935. Ein Beitrag zur Systematik der Gattung Salvinia. Kritische Betrachtung der bisherigen systematischen Gliederung der Gattung. Hedwigia 74: 257 - 284.

Johns, R.J. 1981. The ferns and fern allies of Papua New Guinea. Part eleven: the Salviniaceae. P.N.G. Univ. Tech. Res. Rep. R 48-81: 34.1 - 34.2.

Mitchell, D.S. 1972. The Kariba weed: Salvinia molesta. Brit. Fern. Gaz. 10: 251 - 252.

Mitchell, D.S. 1979. The incidence and management of Salvinia molesta in Papua New Guinea. Office of Environment & Conservation & Dept. Primary Industry, P.N.G. i-vi, 1 - 51, f. 1-2, 15 pl.

Mitchell, D.S. 1979b. Aquatic weeds in Papua New Guinea. Sci. in New Guinea 6: 154 - 160, 15 pl.

Genera in Australia and Papuasia

A family of a single genus ... Salvinia (1)


In some treatments the genus Azolla (Azollaceae) is included in this family.

Updated November 1999 by Jim Croft (