Pilularia or pillworts is a genus of unusual ferns of family Marsileaceae distributed in North Temperate regions, Ethiopian mountains, and the southern hemisphere in Australia, New Zealand, and western South America.

Pilularia globulifera - Thomé.jpg
Pillwort, Pilularia globulifera
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Tracheophytes
Division: Polypodiophyta
Class: Polypodiopsida
Order: Salviniales
Family: Marsileaceae
Genus: Pilularia

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Depending on the taxonomic revisor, the genus contains between 3 and 6 species of small plants with thread-like leaves, and creeping rhizomes. The sporangia are borne in spherical sporocarps ("pills") which form in the axils of leaves. Pilularia minuta from SW Europe is one of the smallest of all ferns.

List of speciesEdit

Recent work from Pryer Lab[1] accepted four species of Pilularia, with a fifth, P. novae-zealandiae, being conspecific with P. novae-hollandiae. In addition, another species, P. dracomontana, has been described from South Africa.[2]


  1. ^ Nagalingum, Nathalie S.; et al. (2008). "Assessing phylogenetic relationships in extant heterosporous ferns (Salviniales), with a focus on Pilularia and Salvinia" (PDF). Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society. 157 (4): 673–685. doi:10.1111/j.1095-8339.2008.00806.x. Retrieved 8 October 2014.
  2. ^ Crouch, N. R. & J. Wesley-Smith. "Pilularia dracomontana, a new species of pillwort from the Kwazulu-Natal Drakensberg, South Africa". Retrieved 8 October 2014.

External linksEdit