Ophioglossum - Ophioglossaceae

Ophioglossum convexum J.E. Burrows






Common name


Rhizome linear, sometimes with persistent leaf bases; roots horizontal. Leaves up to 2 but mostly 1, appressed to the ground or held at 30° from the horizontal, dull midgreen in colour. Petiole up to 2.5 cm long, subterranean for most of its length. Sterile lamina 10-13 × 6-10 mm, ovate to broadly ovate in outline, apex pointed to rounded with a short mucro, base broadly wedge-shaped to truncate; fertile segment 3-10 cm long, inserted at or just below the base of the lamina. Sporangia 6-15 pairs.


Could be mistaken for O. rubellum which usually has 2 leaves that are held at 10-20° of the ground and have a concave (not convex) upper surface. O. rubellum has dark green leaves with an orange to reddish tinge.


convexum: convex, the leaves have a curved appearance when viewed from above.


Montane grassland, on shallow, sandy soils or reddish, sandy loams in high rainfall areas.

Distribution worldwide

Africa, Madagascar.

Distribution in Africa

Malawi, South Africa, Zambia, Zimbabwe.

Growth form



  • Burrows, J.E. (1990) Southern African Ferns and Fern Allies. Frandsen, Sandton. Pages 42 - 43. (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 114 - 115. (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 33.
  • Roux, J.P. (2001) Conspectus of Southern African Pteridophyta.Southern African Botanical Diversity Network Report, 13 Page 32.