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Family Salviniaceae
Salvinia auriculata Aubl.

Scientific names Common names
Salvinia auriculata Aubl. Salvinia (Engl.)
Salvinia hispida Kunth Butterfly fern (Engl.)
Salvinia rotundifolia Willd. Eared salvinia (Engl.)
  Eared watermoss (Engl.)
  Giant salvinia (Engl.)
  Kariba weed (Engl.)
  Koi kandy (Engl.)
  Water fern (Engl.)
  Water spangles (Engl.)
  Aquarium watermoss (Engl.)
Salvinia auriculata Aubl. is an accepted name. The Plant List

Other vernacular names
FRENCH: Fougère d'eau.

Salvinia auriculata is a free-floating aquatic fern, up to 20 centimeters long. Horizontal rhizome lies below the water surface. Fronds are of two types, buoyant or submerged, light-green to medium green, with brownish edges when mature, with a distinctive fold in the center. Floating leaves are boat-shaped, up to 2.5 centimeters long and 3.5 centimeters wide. Upper surface has even rows of papillae, each with a tuft of hairs at the distal end, joined together at the tips into a form similar to an inverted egg-beater. The cagelike structure of the end hairs give the plant buoyancy in water.

- Widespread in ponds, pools, and lakes throughout the Philippines.
- Occasional ornamental cultivation.
- Originated from South America.

- Yields proteins, nutrients, lignin, ash, and tannin.
- Phytochemical screening yielded alkaloids, flavonoids, phenols, tannins, and saponins. (11)
- Bioassay guided assay isolated three main compounds i.e., stigmasterone, stigmasterol, and friedelinol. (see study below) (9)

- Studies have suggested antimicrobial, phytoremediative, biosorbent, antioxidant properties.


- No reported folkloric medicinal use in the Philippines.
- Potential as forage.
- Used as mulch, compost, biofertilizer.
- Handicrafts and papermaking.
- Bio-gas generation.

Chemical Composition:
SM was analyzed for its suitability as source of forage for ruminants. The concentration of 12.4% crude protein in sand-corrected dry matter and of other nutrients is comparable to that in conventional forage. However, its high content of crude ash, lignin, and presence of tannins may reduce its acceptance and digestibility and its potential as forage for ruminants. (2)
Antimicrobial Source Potential / Bovine Mastitis: In a study of extracts of two aquatic plants, S. auriculata and H. nymphoides, against bovine mastitis pathogens. Study concluded the aquatic plants to be potential sources for the investigation of new antimicrobial compounds. (3)
Paper-making Potential: Study describes the potential use of S. molesta alone or in combination with rice-straw or waste textile cuttings in the paper industry, such as low grade papers such as kraft paper, newsprint, or tissue paper for packaging. (4)
Phytoremediation / Waste-water Decontamination / Nickel:
(1) S. natans has been shown to have great potential for the removal of heavy metals like lead (Pb), cadmium (Cd), nickel (Ni), copper (Cu), chromium (Cr) and mercury (Hg) from waste water. (2) In the absence of other pollutants, Salvinia plants may be used for the removal of Ni from effluents. (6)
Natansnin / Antioxidant / Hepatoprotective:
Study isolated natansnin, an unusual, novel, 1,2-dibenzoyl glycoside. Natasnin (1) showed 60.6% radical scavenging activity, (2) reduced lipid peroxidation and enzymes induced by CCl4, (3) restored activities of antioxidant enzymes,
(4) reduced the levels of apoptotic and inflammatory proteins. This was the first study that showed prior administration of natansnin ameliorated CCl4-induced acute liver injury in rats. (5)
Impediment for Commercial Use: Main impediment to the commercial use of floating aquatic weeds such as Salvinia is the high water content, often up to 90% of harvest weight—only a small proportion is actually plant matter. (7)
Antibacterial / Antiseptic Herbal Soap: Study isolated three main compounds, viz., stigmasterone, stigmasterol, and friedelinol. The extract showed antibacterial activity similar to the pure form of diketosteroid with its potential antibacterial activity against Staphylococcus aureus isolated from animals with mastitis infection. Results suggest a potential as excipient for the production of antibacterial soaps to control bovine mastitis infections. (9)
Bioindicator / Cadmium Contamination: Leaves exposed to Cd showed chloroplast deformations and deterioration in cell wall. Results showed S. auriculata showed good potential for use as a bioindicator and can be used in biomonitoring of aquatic ecosystems contaminated by cadmium. (10)
Antibacterial: Antibacterial assay of various extracts showed the methanol and acetone extracts to have maximum activity against Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Escherichia coli, and Staphylococcus aureus. (11) Study evaluated the antibacterial activity of two water plants, Nymphaea alba and Sal
Nariginin / Antioxidant: Study evaluated the antioxidant activities and total phenolic contents of acetone/methanol extracts from Salvinia molesta and Eichomia crassipes. S. molesta exhibited the highest antioxidant activity. Nariginin was the major phenolic compound found in the extracts, followed by myricetin. (12)
• Biosorbent of Cr (III) / Biomass: Study reports on the potential of Salvinia auriculata as biosorbent for chromium III. (13)
• Ecological Threat: Giant salvinia forms dense mats over lakes and slow moving rivers which can cause economic losses and a wide range of ecological problems to native species and communities. It can clog water system pipes, reduce habitat for game birds, and limit access to fishing areas. (14)


Updated June 2018 / February 2015

November 2011

IMAGE SOURCE: Line Drawing / Salvinia auriculata Aubl. - eared watermoss / USDA-NRCS PLANTS Database / Britton, N.L., and A. Brown. 1913. An illustrated flora of the northern United States, Canada and the British Possessions. 3 vols. Charles Scribner's Sons, New York. Vol. 1: 38. / USDA
OTHER IMAGE SOURCE: Salvinia natans / Otto Wilhelm Thomé: Flora von Deutschland, Österreich und der Schweiz (1885) - Permission granted to use under GFDL by Kurt Stueber. / alterVISTA
OTHER IMAGE SOURCE: Salvinia natans / Permission granted to use under GFDL by Kurt Stueber. Source: www.biolib.de / GNU Free Documentation / alterVISTA

Additional Sources and Suggested Readings
Salvinia molesta (aquatic plant, herb) / Global Invasive Species Database
Chemical Composition of Water Fern, Salvinia molesta, and Its Potential as Feed Source for Ruminants
/ Mathew Moozhyil and Josep Pallauf / Economic Botany > Vol. 40, No. 3, 1986
Aquatic plants as potential sources of antimicrobial compounds active against bovine mastitis pathogens / Ciro Cesar Rossi, Ananda Pereira Aguilar et al / African Journal of Biotechnology Vol. 10(41), pp. 8023-8030, 3 August, 2011
Potential Use of an Aquatic Weed, Salvinia molesta, in Paper Industry
/ K R Bhardwaj / Bulletin of the National Institute of Ecology 15: 145-151, 2005
Protective efficacy of natansnin, a dibenzoyl glycoside from Salvinia natans against CCl4 induced oxidative stress and cellular degeneration in rat liver / Polimetia Srilaxmi, Gangadhara Reddy Sareddy, Polavarapu Bilhan Kavi Kishor et al / Srilaxmi et al. BMC Pharmacology 2010, 10:13
Studies of uptake and toxic effects of NI (II) on Salvinia natans / Asit K. Sen and Manisha Bhattacharyya / WATER, AIR, & SOIL POLLUTION, Volume 78, Numbers 1-2, 141-152, DOI: 10.1007/BF00475673
Salvinia molesta (aquatic plant, herb) / Global Invasive Species Database
Salvinia auriculata / The Plant List
Antibacterial Chemical Constituent and Antiseptic Herbal Soap from Salvinia auriculata Aubl.
/ Samia Lima, Gaspar Diaz, and Marisa Alves Nogueira Diaz / Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, Volume 2013 (2013) / http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2013/480509
The use of Salvinia auriculata as a bioindicator in aquatic ecosystems: biomass and structure dependent on the cadmium concentration / Wolff, G. * ; Pereira, GC., Castro, EM., Louzada, J., Coelho, FF. / Braz. J. Biol. vol.72 no.1 São Carlos Feb. 2012 / http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S1519-69842012000100009
Antibacterial Activity and Phytochemical Screening of Salvinia auriculata Aubl. from Tirumala Hills, Tirupati / P. Suvarnalatha Devi*, K. Rukmini, SVSSSL. Himabindu. N, N. Savithramma / Int. J. Pharm. Sci. Rev. Res., 30(1), January – February 2015
Antioxidant Activities and Phenolic Contents of Extracts from Salvinia molesta and Eichornia crassipes /
Piyanete Chantiratikul, Payungrat Meechai and Woranan Nakbanpotec / Research Journal of Biological Sciences, 2009, Volume: 4, Issue 10, Pp 1113-1117.
Potential of Salvinia auriculata biomass as biosorbent of the Cr(III): directed chemical treatment, modeling and sorption mechanism study / Aparecido Nivaldo Modenes, Ana Paula de Oliveira, Fernando R Espinosa-Quiñones, Daniela Estelita Goes Triqueros et al / Environmental Technology (2017), Vol 38, Issue 12 / https://doi.org/10.1080/09593330.2016.1234002
Eared salvinia / Invasive Plant Atlas

It is not uncommon for links on studies/sources to change. Copying and pasting the information on the search window or using the DOI (if available) will often redirect to the new link page.

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