Lygodium - Lygodiaceae

Lygodium microphyllum (Cav.) R. Br.

Photo: BT. Wursten
Dem. Republic of Congo

Photo: BT. Wursten
Dem. Republic of Congo

Photo: BT. Wursten
Dem. Republic of Congo

Photo: BT. Wursten
Dem. Republic of Congo






Ugena microphylla Cav.
Lygodium scandens Sw. var. microphyllum (Cav.) Bonap.
Lygodium scandens sensu Hook. & Baker

Common name


Rhizome creeping, 3 mm in diameter, subterranean; rhizome scales linear, blackish-brown, ± 1.5 mm long. Fronds herbaceous, spaced 4–13 cm apart, 3–10 m long, 20–40 cm wide. Stipe and rhachis of an elongated frond function as the climbing stem, from which short secondary rhachises with an opposing pair of pinnae arise, apical bud densely covered with short brown hairs 1-4 mm long. Pinnae oblong, pinnate, glabrous. Sterile pinnules 0.5–6.2 x 1–2.3 cm, petiolate, articulated, lanceolate to oblong-lanceolate in outline, base cordate, apex acute to rounded, margins minutely lobed, veins free. Fertile pinnules 1–7.5 x 0.6–2.5 cm, broadly lanceolate to oblong in outline, apex acute or acuminate to rounded, base square, glabrous, margin minutely crenate, with numerous protuding linear fertile lobes, 1–12 x 1–1.5 mm; sporangia 10-12 pairs, arranged in 2 rows along the margins.


According to J.E.Burrows (1990), Schelpe (1970) and Roux (2009) not in Zimbabwe, only close to the coast in Mozambique and South Africa.
Differs from L. kerstenii by having glabrous pinnule veins and less divided pinnae (pinnate pinnae).


microphyllum: small-leaved; unclear reference, no parts of the frond are smaller than that of other Lygodium species.


Moist conditions along the margins of evergreen montane and riverine forest.

Distribution worldwide

Africa, Asia, Australia and Polynesia.

Distribution in Africa

Angola, Benin, Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Congo, Dem. Republic of Congo, Equatorial Guinea (incl. Bioko), Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Liberia, Malawi, Mali, Mozambique, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Sudan and South Sudan, Tanzania , Zambia, Zimbabwe.

Growth form

Climbing, terrestrial.


  • Burrows, J.E. (1990) Southern African Ferns and Fern Allies. Frandsen, Sandton. Pages 60 - 61. (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 180 - 181. (Includes a picture).
  • Jacobsen, W.B.G. (1983) The Ferns and Fern Allies of Southern Africa. Butterworths, Durban and Pretoria. Pages 179 - 181. (Includes a picture).
  • Kornas, J. (1979) Distribution and ecology of the Pteridophytes in Zambia. Polska Akademia Nauk Wydzial II Nauk Biologicznych. Page 41.
  • Lawalrée, A. (1970) Schizaeaceae.Flore du Congo, du Rwanda et du Burundi, Pages 2 - 3. (Includes a picture).
  • Roux, J.P. (2001) Conspectus of Southern African Pteridophyta.Southern African Botanical Diversity Network Report, 13 Page 50.
  • Roux, J.P. (2009) Synopsis of the Lycopodiophyta and Pteridophyta of Africa, Madagascar and neighbouring islands. Strelitzia 23, South African National Biodiversity Institute, Pretoria. Pages 53 - 54.
  • Schelpe, E.A.C.L.E. (1970) Pteridophyta.Flora Zambesiaca, 0 Page 57. (Includes a picture).
  • Tardieu-Blot, M.-L. (1964) Ptéridophytes vol.3.Flore du Cameroun, Pages 62 - 64. (Includes a picture).
  • Thardieu-Blot, M.L. (1964) Ptéridophytes vol.8.Flore du Gabon, Pages 45 - 46. (Includes a picture).
  • Verdcourt, B. (2000) Schizaeaceae.Flora of Tropical East Africa, Pages 10 - 11. (Includes a picture).