A genus of aquatic or semiaquatic plants of the family Marsileaceae (allied to the ferns), the members of which have creeping rhizomes, four-lobed leaves, and sporocarps on or at the base of the petioles; (also marsilea) a plant of this genus (also called pepperwort, water clover).
Valid publication of the genus name: Linnaeus Species Plantarum (1753) II. 1099.
Mid 18th century; earliest use found in New & Complete Dictionary Arts & Science. From scientific Latin Marsilea (LinnaeusSystema Naturae f. 6/8) from Marsilius, Latinized form of the name of Luigi Ferdinando Marsigli, Italian soldier and naturalist + -a.