Crepidomanes - Hymenophyllaceae

Crepidomanes melanotrichum (Schltdl.) J.P. Roux

Photo: JE. Burrows
South Africa

Photo: P. Ballings

Photo: P. Ballings






Trichomanes melanotrichum Schltdl.
Trichomanes pyxidiferum L. var. melanotrichum (Schltdl.) Schelpe
Trichomanes pyxidiferum sensu Sim
Vandenboschia melanotricha (Schltdl.) Pic.Serm.

Common name


Rhizome filiform, widely creeping, rhizome hairs unbranched, shiny black. Fronds up to 3 cm apart. Stipe 5-35 mm long, winged in upper half, continuing basally as a pronounced rib along which are set 2 rows of black, articulated hairs which frequently break off, leaving a short black stub. Lamina variable, 8-75 × 8-30 mm, 2- or 3-pinnatifid; ultimate lobes narrowly oblong, entire, c. 0.7 mm broad, when dry usually with a vein-like fold between the margin and the vein. Sori obconical, c. 1.5 × 1 mm, narrowly winged for most of their length, valves rounded, entire.


Can be confused with C. inopinatum: C. melanotrichum has a stipe that is narrowly winged throughout (only in the upper quarter to half in C. inopinatum) and that has black articulated hairs or leftover stubs (absent or few brown in C. inopinatum). The rhizome hairs are shiny black in C. melanotrichum and dark brown to dull black in C. inopinatum. Can be distinguished from P. borbonicum : P. borbonicum has a stipe that is winged in the distal half to three quarters, has no stipe hairs, the drying fold is absent and rhizome hairs are brown. The sorus is twice as long as wide (as long as wide in C. melanotrichum).
Flora Tropical East Africa treats C. inopinatum as a synonym of C. melanotrichum and not as a taxon in its own right.


melanotrichum: black hair; this species has distinctive black rhizome hairs.


Shade in moist forest, on lower part of tree-trunks, moist rock faces, mossy rocks, mossy boulders along stream ; occasionaly in riverine or drier type forest.

Distribution worldwide

Africa, Madagascar and Mascarenes.

Distribution in Africa

Angola, Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Congo, Dem. Republic of Congo, Equatorial Guinea (incl. Bioko), Ethiopia, Ghana, Guinea, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Lesotho, Liberia, Malawi, Mozambique, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Sudan and South Sudan, Swaziland, Tanzania , Zambia, Zimbabwe.

Growth form

Epiphytic, lithophytic.


  • Beentje, H.J. (2008) Hymenophyllaceae.Flora of Tropical East Africa, Pages 24 - 25. (Includes a picture).
  • Burrows, J.E. (1990) Southern African Ferns and Fern Allies. Frandsen, Sandton. Page 92. (Includes a picture).
  • Crouch, N.R., Klopper, R.R., Burrows, J.E. & Burrows, S.M. (2011) Ferns of Southern Africa, A comprehensive guide. Struik Nature. Pages 156 - 157. (Includes a picture).
  • Jacobsen, W.B.G. (1983) The Ferns and Fern Allies of Southern Africa. Butterworths, Durban and Pretoria. Pages 188 - 189. (Includes a picture).
  • Kornas, J. (1979) Distribution and ecology of the Pteridophytes in Zambia. Polska Akademia Nauk Wydzial II Nauk Biologicznych. Pages 72 - 73. As Trichomanes pyxidiferum var. melanotrichum
  • Roux, J.P. (2009) Synopsis of the Lycopodiophyta and Pteridophyta of Africa, Madagascar and neighbouring islands. Strelitzia 23, South African National Biodiversity Institute, Pretoria. Page 40.
  • Roux, J.P. (2001) Conspectus of Southern African Pteridophyta.Southern African Botanical Diversity Network Report, 13 Page 46. (Includes a picture).
  • Schelpe, E.A.C.L.E. (1970) Pteridophyta.Flora Zambesiaca, 0 Pages 76 - 78. (Includes a picture).
  • Tardieu-Blot, M.-L. (1964) Ptéridophytes vol.3.Flore du Cameroun, Pages 86 - 88. (Includes a picture).