Asplenium - Aspleniaceae

Asplenium phillipsianum (Kümmerie) Bir, Fraser-Jenk. & Lovis

Photo: P. Ballings

Photo: P. Ballings

Photo: P. Ballings

Photo: P. Ballings

Photo: BT. Wursten






Ceterach phillipsianum Kümmerle

Common name


Rhizome erect or procumbent, c.4 mm in diameter, scales dark-chestnut coloured, lanceolate, margin paler sometimes toothed, up to 4 mm long. Fronds sometimes proliferous in the sinuses of the apical lobes, tufted, suberect to spreading. Stipe very short, 5-30 mm long, dark chestnut brown; scales shiny, brown, up to 4 mm long. Lamina 5-13 × 1.5-5 cm, pinnatisect to shallowly 2-pinnatifid, elliptic to obovate in outline, herbaceous, inrolled when dry; basal pinnae gradually decrescent. Pinnae attached to the rhachis throughout, base prolonged down the rhachis, narrowly ovate-oblong, margins entire to weakly sinuate, apex rounded, undersurface very sparsely covered with scales; scales brown, lanceolate, c. 2.5 mm long. Rhachis somewhat winged apically, not winged between widely spaced pinnae basally; scales like stipe scales, 4 mm long. Sori linear, 2-3 mm long becoming confluent at maturity, not totally obscured by scales, exindusiate.


Untill recently this species was included within the broad concept for A. cordatum.
Confusion possible with A. cordatum which has a more incised lamina, petiolate pinnae, a rhachis that is not winged and sori that are obscured by dense scale covering. A. phillipsianum can be distinguished from A. capense: A. capense has a rhachis that is only winged apically (throughout in A. phillipsianum), the pinnae are adnate apically & petiolate basally (adnate throughout in A. phillipsianum) and the sori are less long.


phillipsianum: type specimen was collected by the English explorer E. Lort-Phillips (1857-1944).


Close to streams and under trees on steep, damp earth banks.

Distribution worldwide

South Africa, extending to central and tropical East Africa, Madagascar.

Distribution in Africa

South Africa, Zimbabwe.

Growth form



  • Crouch, N.R., Klopper, R.R., Burrows, J.E. & Burrows, S.M. (2011) Ferns of Southern Africa, A comprehensive guide. Struik Nature. Pages 586 - 587. (Includes a picture).
  • 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 93.