Azolla nilotica Decne. ex Mett.

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Azolla nilotica

Picture: Petra Ballings

Azolla nilotica

Picture: Petra Ballings

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Common names:
Rhizome up to 2 mm in diameter, up to 32 cm long, horizontal, hairy, branched. Secondary branches alternately pinnately arranged. Roots numerous, in fascicles from the nodes, hairy. Leaves 2-lobed; upper lobe up to 2 mm long, broadly ovate to elliptic in outline, apex rounded to broadly pointed, green, papillate in the centre, margins forming a broad translucent wing; lower lobe colourless, smaller and thin. Plant heterosporous, sporocarps in the leaf axils, only on the older parts of the plant.
Type location:
Notes: A. nilotica has a thick cluster of roots at the nodes, whereas A. pinnata has a single, or 2 or 3 roots from the nodes.
Derivation of specific name: nilotica: from the valley of the Nile, this fern was first collected on the Nile.
Habitat: Wet mud and shallow water in stagnant or sluggish streams.
Altitude range: 0 - 360 m
Worldwide distribution: Burundi, DRC, Gabon, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambiqua, Somalia, Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe.
Zambian distribution (Flora Zambesiaca): N,C,E
Zambian distribution (Provinces):
Growth form(s): Aquatic.
Endemic status:
Red data list status:
Insects associated with this species:
Spot characters: Display spot characters for this species

Burrows, J.E. (1990). Southern African Ferns and Fern Allies. Frandsen, Sandton. Pages 82 - 83. (Includes a picture).

Burrows, J.E. & Burrows, S.M. (1993). An annotated check-list of the pteridophytes of Malawi Kirkia 14(1) Page 83.

Da Silva, M.C., Izidine, S. & Amude, A.B. (2004). A preliminary checklist of the vascular plants of Mozambique. Southern African Botanical Diversity Network Report No. 30 Sabonet, Pretoria Page 9.

Jacobsen, W.B.G. (1983). The Ferns and Fern Allies of Southern Africa. Butterworths, Durban and Pretoria. Pages 493 - 494. (Includes a picture).

Kornas, J. (1979). Distribution and ecology of the Pteridophytes in Zambia Polska Akademia Nauk Wydzial II Nauk Biologicznych Pages 122 - 123.

Mapaura, A. & Timberlake, J. (eds) (2004). A checklist of Zimbabwean vascular plants Southern African Botanical Diversity Network Report No. 33 Sabonet, Pretoria and Harare Page 5.

Roux, J.P. (2001). Conspectus of Southern African Pteridophyta. Southern African Botanical Diversity Network Report 13 Page 179.

Schelpe, E.A.C.L.E. (1970). Pteridophyta Flora Zambesiaca Pages 70 - 71. (Includes a picture).

Other sources of information about Azolla nilotica:

Our websites:

Flora of Malawi: Azolla nilotica
Flora of Mozambique: Azolla nilotica
Flora of Zimbabwe: Azolla nilotica

External websites:

African Plants: A Photo Guide (Senckenberg): Azolla nilotica
African Plant Database: Azolla nilotica
BHL (Biodiversity Heritage Library): Azolla nilotica
EOL (Encyclopedia of Life): Azolla nilotica
ePIC (electronic Plant Information Center): Azolla nilotica
Flora Zambesiaca web site: Azolla nilotica
GBIF (Global Biodiversity Information Facility): Azolla nilotica
Google: Web - Images - Scholar
GRIN (Germplasm Resources Information Network): Azolla nilotica
iNaturalist: Azolla nilotica
IPNI (International Plant Names Index): Azolla nilotica
JSTOR Plant Science: Azolla nilotica
Kew Herbarium catalogue: Azolla nilotica
Mansfeld World Database of Agricultural and Horticultural Crops: Azolla nilotica
Plants of the World Online: Azolla nilotica
The Plant List (version 1.1): Azolla nilotica
Tropicos: Azolla nilotica
Wikipedia: Azolla nilotica

Copyright: Mike Bingham, Annette Willemen, Bart Wursten, Petra Ballings and Mark Hyde, 2011-20

Bingham, M.G., Willemen, A., Wursten, B.T., Ballings, P. and Hyde, M.A. (2020). Flora of Zambia: Species information: Azolla nilotica., retrieved 2 July 2020

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