Plants small, herbaceous, in shallow water or on shores of lakes and ponds. Rhizomes slender and creeping with a siphonostele, covered with short side-attached hairs or glabrous. Fronds linear or with 2-4 obtriangular or fan-shaped pinnae attached at top of stipe, these floating on water surface or emergent. Spores formed inside bean-shaped sporocarps attached to stipe by a short peduncle. Sporocarps containing 2-30 sori, each sorus including both megasporangia and microsporangia. Megasporangium with 1 large spore; microsporangium with 16-64 small spores.
Three genera and ca. 60 species: Africa and Australia are the centers of diversity; one genus and three species in China.
Lin Youxing. 2000. Marsileaceae. In: Lin Youxing, ed., Fl. Reipubl. Popularis Sin. 6(2): 336-339.