Psilotum - Psilotaceae

Psilotum nudum (L.) P. Beauv.

Photo: BT. Wursten
Mozambique

Photo: BT. Wursten
Mozambique

Photo: BT. Wursten
Mozambique

Photo: BT. Wursten
Mozambique

Photo: BT. Wursten
Mozambique

 

 

 

 

Synonyms

Psilotum triquetrum Sw.
Lycopodium nudum L.
Bernhardia capensis Müll.Berol.

Common name

Description

Rhizome c.1.5 mm in diameter, shortly creeping, rootless, covered with very small scales. Aerial stems 15-44 cm long, unbranched below, repeatedly dichotomously branched above with 20-36 branches, markedly angled and triangular in cross-section, glabrous. Leaves few, widely spaced, lanceolate to ovate in outline, scale-like, pointed, up to 2 mm long. Sporangia c.2.5 mm in diameter, united in 3-locular capsule-like synangium, placed in the axis of a small bract, scattered along the apical region of the stem, orange brown when mature, dehiscing longitudinally to release the spores.

Notes

Very distinctive, can not be mistaken for any other pteridophyte in Africa.

Derivation

nudum: naked; also referring to the almost leafless character of this species.

Habitat

Cracks in sandstone cliffs, usually along a river or as an epiphyte on trees in evergreen forest at low altitude.

Distribution worldwide

Widely distributed in Africa and on the African islands. Also known from Asia, Polynesia, the Americas, Spain and Mascarene islands.

Distribution in Africa

Angola, Cameroon, Congo, Democratic Republic of Congo, Equatorial Guinea (incl. Bioko), Gabon, Ghana, Guinea, Kenya, Lesotho, Liberia, Malawi, Mozambique, Nigeria, Senegal, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania , Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe.

Growth form

Epiphytic, lithophytic.

Literature

  • Burrows, J.E. (1990) Southern African Ferns and Fern Allies. Frandsen, Sandton. Pages 10 - 11. (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 130 - 131. (Includes a picture).
  • Jacobsen, W.B.G. (1983) The Ferns and Fern Allies of Southern Africa. Butterworths, Durban and Pretoria. Pages 130 - 131. (Includes a picture).
  • Kornas, J. (1979) Distribution and ecology of the Pteridophytes in Zambia. Polska Akademia Nauk Wydzial II Nauk Biologicznych. Page 26.
  • Roux, J.P. (2001) Conspectus of Southern African Pteridophyta. Southern African Botanical Diversity Network Report, 13 Pages 16 - 17.
  • 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 36.
  • Schelpe, E.A.C.L.E. (1970) Pteridophyta. Flora Zambesiaca, 0 Page 15. (Includes a picture).
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