Marsilea drummondii – Nardoo

A widespread aquatic fern, growing often in inland areas and appearing prolifically after floods. Leaves look somewhat like a four leaf clover, with two pairs of leaflets. Grows in water up to one metre deep, growing from a creeping rhizome and reproducing through sporocarps. Great as a plant for the garden pond, it is an attractive aquatic species.
These sporocarps are used as a food by Aborigines, first treated to remove poisonous compounds and then ground and used for dough. It can be toxic to both animals and humans if not prepared properly. Sporocarps are eaten by birds though, including waterfowl, and the plant is spread in this way, among others.
Attracts frogs to the garden, as it provides ideal breeding habitat, as long as no pesticides are used in the water. Propagate by dividing plant root ball.

Picture provided by Philip Clarke, from his new book Discovering Aboriginal Plant Use: Journeys of an Australian Anthropologist

Scientific Name:Marsilea drummondii
Common Name:Nardoo
Plant Type:Aquatic, Fern
Height:0.1 ~ 0.3 metres
Width:1 ~ 3 metre
Ph Level:Acid, Neutral
Soil Type:Sandy, Clay, Loamy, Sandy loam, Clay loam
Plant Environment:Low maintenance garden, Courtyard, Container growing
Climate Zone:Sub-tropical, Warm temperate, Cool temperate, Mediterranean, Semi-arid
Light:Sunny, Light shade, Half shade
Planting Season:All year
Growth Habit:Evergreen, Spreading
Soil Moisture:Boggy poorly drained
Special Uses:Bog gardens, Fast growing
Attracts Wildlife:Seed eating birds


Once you have found the plant that you want, the next step is to find where to get it. Nurseries stock a good range of plants, but due to space and supplies, they may or may not have the wanted plant in stock. If they don’t, they may be able to order it in for you.  Specialist nurseries are also able to give great advice, and if they don’t have the plant you want, they can often suggest alternative plants that will be just as good for you. Below is a list of our favourite specialist nurseries. Click on the links for their details-


The Wildflower Place Erina – NSW 


Sydney Wildflower Nursery – NSW


Newcastle Wildflower Nursery – NSW


Cool Country Natives – ACT


Geelong Native Plants – Victoria


Wimmera Native Nursery – Victoria


Zanthorrea Nursery – Perth WA


Manuka Native Nursery – South Australia




Sydney Wildflower Nursery – mail order


The Native Shop – mail order




Angus recommends Bush Tucker fertiliser for native plants.