Floating ferns

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Floating ferns
Round-leaved floating fern (Salvinia auriculata)

Round-leaved floating fern ( Salvinia auriculata )

Department : Vascular plants (tracheophyta)
Class : True ferns (Polypodiopsida)
Order : Floating ferns (Salviniales)
Family : Swimming fern family (Salviniaceae)
Genre : Floating ferns
Scientific name

The swimming fern genus ( Salvinia ) belongs to the swimming fern family and consists of ten to twelve species that are predominantly found in the tropics (exception: Australia). Swimming ferns occur in stagnant or slow-flowing waters. The only European species is the common swimming fern Salvinia natans .


Salvinia are 2-20 cm wide, driving on the water surface plant . They spread sexually through spores and vegetatively through runners; The latter method of reproduction can lead to a large overgrowth of the water surface.

Each individual plant consists of horizontally growing axes with threefold whorls of leaves. Two of these are designed as round or oval floating leaves; the third is finely divided, extends a few centimeters below and, as a so-called water leaf, takes on the role of a root. But it is not anchored in the ground.


The genus Salvinia was named by the Italian botanist Pier Antonio Micheli in 1729 in honor of the Italian philologist Antonio Maria Salvini (1653-1729).

There are ten to twelve types:

  • Round-leaved floating fern ( Salvinia auriculata Aubl. ), Native to: Mexico, Bermuda Islands, West Indies, Central America and South America.
  • Salvinia biloba Raddi , home: Brazil, Bolivia and Paraguay.
  • Hooded swimming fern ( Salvinia cucullata Roxb. Ex Bory ), native to: India, Indonesia, Thailand, Myanmar, Cambodia and Vietnam.
  • Salvinia cyathiformis Maxon , home: Trinidad.
  • Salvinia hastata Desv. , Home: Kenya, Tanzania, Malawi, Mozambique, Madagascar and Réunion.
  • Salvinia herzogii de la Sota : It occurs in Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay.
  • Salvinia minima Baker : It is native to Mexico, the Caribbean, Guatemala, Honduras, Belize, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Panama, Colombia, Ecuador, Venezuela, Brazil, Bolivia, Peru, Paraguay, Uruguay and northern Argentina. Widely naturalized in North America.
  • Salvinia molesta Mitchell , origin: Brazil, widely naturalized in the tropics and subtropics, also occurs in the Netherlands.
  • Common swimming fern ( Salvinia natans (L.) All. ), Native to: Europe, North Africa, Asia.
  • Salvinia nymphellula Desv. , Home: West Africa.
  • Long-leaved floating fern ( Salvinia oblongifolia Mart. ), Origin: Brazil.
  • Salvinia radula Bak. : It occurs in Panama, Colombia, Ecuador, Venezuela, Brazil, Bolivia and Paraguay.
  • Salvinia sprucei Kuhn ; It occurs in Panama, Colombia, Venezuela, Trinidad and in northern Brazil.

As aquarium plants , Salvinia auriculata (small-eared floating fern), Salvinia cucullata (hooded floating fern) and above all Salvinia molesta (annoying floating fern), but also Salvinia oblongifolia (long-leaved floating fern) are cultivated.



  • DS Mitchell, PA Thomas: Ecology of water weeds in the neotropics: an ecological survey of the aquatic weeds Eichhornia crassipedes and Salvinia species, and their natural enemies in the neotropics . In: Technical papers in hydrology . tape 12 . Unesco, Paris 1972 ( online [PDF; 2.6 MB ; accessed on November 6, 2007]).
  • Walter Erhardt , Erich Götz, Nils Bödeker, Siegmund Seybold: The great pikeperch. Encyclopedia of Plant Names. Volume 2. Types and varieties. Eugen Ulmer, Stuttgart (Hohenheim) 2008, ISBN 978-3-8001-5406-7 .
  • Clifton E. Nauman: Salvinia. In: Flora of North America Editorial Committee (Ed.): Flora of North America North of Mexico . Volume 2: Pteridophytes and Gymnosperms . Oxford University Press, New York / Oxford a. a. 1993, ISBN 0-19-508242-7 , pp. 336-337 (English, online ).

Individual evidence

  1. Lotte Burkhardt: Directory of eponymous plant names . Extended Edition. Botanic Garden and Botanical Museum Berlin, Free University Berlin Berlin 2018. [1]
  2. Michael Hassler, Bernd Schmitt: Checklist of Ferns and Lycophytes of the World . Karlsruhe ( online [accessed November 7, 2013] website).
  3. a b c d e f g h Salvinia in the Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN), USDA , ARS , National Genetic Resources Program. National Germplasm Resources Laboratory, Beltsville, Maryland. Retrieved February 22, 2019.
  4. Salvinia in the Integrated Taxonomic Information System (ITIS)
  5. Christel Kasselmann : aquarium plants. Ulmer Verlag, Stuttgart 1995; 2nd, revised and expanded edition 1999, ISBN 3-8001-7454-5 , pp. 414-416 and 468.

Web links

Commons : Salvinia  - collection of images, videos and audio files