The Temperate Database is in the process of being updated, with new records being added and old ones being checked and brought up to date where necessary. This record has not yet been checked and updated.
Common Name: Common Nardoo
Marsilea drummondii is a Fern up to 0.30 metres tall.
It is harvested from the wild for local use as a food.
Although we have found no reports of toxicity for this species, a number of ferns contain carcinogens so some caution is advisable[
The sporocarps of this species also contain thiaminase, an enzyme that robs the body of vitamin B1. In small quantities this enzyme will do no harm to people eating an adequate diet that is rich in vitamin B, though large quantities can cause severe health problems. Fairly resistant to heat, the quantity of enzyme can be greatly reduced by thoroughly drying or cooking the plant[
Australia - all mainland states.
Growing in mud and shallow water in the montane zone[
]. Shallow, still or slowly moving water[
Plants are hardy to about -7°c in Australian gardens[
], though this cannot be translated directly to British gardens due to our cooler summers and longer, colder and wetter winters[
A highly polymorphic species[
Most species produce sporocarps as their habitat dries. Spores of some species retain viability within the sporocarp for nearly 70 years; thus species can survive in areas of infrequent rainfall[
Spores - cooked[
]. A source of starch, the spores can be ground into a powder and used like flour[
]. They are astringent and highly indigestible[
]. The spores are contained in a sporocarp[
]. The sporocarps are a rich source of thiaminase, an enzyme that can destroy vitamin B1 in the diet[
]. As such, they are best viewed as a temporary food of last resort[
Spores. The plant produces sporocarps, these need to be lightly abraded and then immersed in water. The sporocarps will then swell and burst to release the spores. The spores germinate immediately, the highly developed prothallus remains inside the large seed-like spores. The gametophyte generation is completed in 24 hours and the first roots and shoots appear in 2 - 3 days. Mature plants bearing sporocarps can develop in as little as 3 months[
Spore germination in the family occurs after rupture of the sporocarp wall allows the sporocarp contents to be hydrated. A gelatinous structure emerges from the sporocarp, breaking it into valves and carrying the sori into the water. Spore germination (gametophyte growth) and fertilization occur immediately[