Marsilea mutica


Also known as:

Smooth nardoo, Australian water clover, clover fern

Family: Marsileaceae

Origin: Australia, New Caledonia

Three Nardoo leaves on the water surface.
A perennial floating aquatic fern with leaves that look like four-leaf clovers. Roots can grow in soil or be dislodged and form floating mats.
Photo credit: Trevor James, AgResearch

Regional Pest Management Plan (RPMP) status

  • Whole region — Sustained control
  • Hauraki Gulf Controlled Area Notice pest

View more about the RPMP statuses

General description

Perennial floating aquatic fern. Roots in soil and may detach and form a free-floating raft when mature. Fronds are smooth, four-lobed, clover-like, < 6 cm in diameter, two toned purple/green or green/light green and floating on water surface or held up on stalks. Petioles function as air bladders and inflate at the apex.

What you need to know

To help protect our environment:

  • You must not breed, distribute, release or sell nardoo within the Auckland region.
  • You must not plant nardoo within the Auckland region, unless you are transferring an existing plant on your land to another location within the boundaries of the same property.
  • You must destroy any nardoo on land that you occupy if it has been planted in breach of the above rules and you are directed to do so by an authorised person.


Aquatic and damp habitats, wetlands, ponds, lake edges.


Vegetative spread from stem and rhizome fragments and free-floating rafts. May spread by spores.

Impact on environment

Displaces native, bottom-rooted aquatic plants and competes with small native plants in wetlands and around lake edges.


Site Management

Follow up treated areas 3 times per year.

Recommended approaches

Physical control

Method: Mechanical removal or pull out.

Plant parts requiring disposal: All parts.

Disposal options: Remove to greenwaste or landfill if practical.


Biocontrol is currently not available for this species.

Community agrichemical control recommendations

Certified Handler/Experienced agrichemical user: Foliar spray emergent foliage with 100ml glyphosate green per 10L of water.

Caution: When using any herbicide or pesticide please read the label thoroughly to ensure that all instructions and safety requirements are followed.

Individual Nardoo leaf on water surface.
Air bladders in in the tips of the stems help keep the leaves afloat. Outcompetes native aquatic plants on lake and pond edges.
Photo credit: Trevor James, AgResearch