ABC PLANTS - Marsilea crenata

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One of the easiest carpeting plants suitable for low-tech aquariums and beginners. Grows into a dense, tall lawn and spreads across the substrate via runner-like structures. Does not require high light or CO2. Can be grown under the shade of taller plants. Really cool, fairly new plant to the hobby.


Please note: Marsilea produces an enormous amount of carotenoids which are orange which combine with chlorophyll in young leaves, making them a brown color. These leaves will turn dark green as they mature and should NOT be mistaken for dead or dying. This is well documented and unique to the Masilea genus.


Difficulty: Easy
Type: Aquatic fern
Size: Rarely taller than 3cm, leaves usually smaller than 0.5cm
Native Range: South and Southeast Asia
Position and Usage: Carpet to Foreground
Growth Rate: Slow to moderate
Lighting: 1/5 - 4/5
Water Conditions: 5-25°C, 5 - 8 pH (very adaptable and tolerant of higher temperatures)
CO2: Not required but will speed up growth and enhance density
Propagation: Sprawls along the substrate via runners. Clumps can be separated and planted elsewhere. Ferns will occasionally produces spore bodies that sometimes open in the aquarium for sexual reproduction.
Special requirements: Very few. Iron rich substrate is appreciated but not required.

Emersed Use: Suitable for paludariums, vivariums and Wabi Kusa. Can be grown emersed, partially emersed or in a humid terrarium. When grown emersed, leaves will take on a distinctive clover-like appearance.

Curiosities: Eaten as a food in certain culinary traditions in Thailand. Commonly found in rice paddies where it is shaded by taller plants. Young leaves are initially a brown color before turning green as they mature. 

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