Ophioglossum - Ophioglossaceae

Ophioglossum reticulatum L.

Photo: P. Ballings

Photo: P. Ballings

Photo: P. Ballings

Photo: P. Ballings

Photo: P. Ballings






Ophioglossum vulgatum L. var. reticulatum (L.) D.C. Eaton

Common name


Rhizome linear to oval, 10-22 mm long often arising from a horizontal root; roots fleshy, horizontal, proliferous; leaf bases not persistent. Leaves 1 to 2 (sometimes up to 4), held at 50-80% from the horizontal, bright green. Petiole up to 40-130 mm long, 35–60% of its length subterranean. Sterile lamina 24-80 × 20-60 mm, circular to broadly ovate, length:width ratio 1.5–2.1:1, apex pointed with a short mucro to rounded, base deeply notched to truncate, texture fleshy; fertile spike 80–250 mm long, inserted at the base of the lamina or up to 2 cm below the apparent base, with 20–45 pairs of sporangia, apex narrowly to broadly pointed.


O. reticulatum could be confused with O. vulgatum and O. polyphyllum. O. vulgatum has a tapering leaf base and mostly a single leaf that is lanceolate to narrowly ovate in outline. O. polyphyllum has conspicuous persistent petiole bases at the top of the rhizome.


reticulatum: netlike, like a network; referring to the venation pattern.


Wet sheetrock mats, wet grasslands, dry forests, forest margins.

Distribution worldwide

Africa, Asia, Pacific Islands, Central and South America.

Distribution in Africa

Angola, Burkina Fasso, Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Congo, Dem. Republic of Congo, Equatorial Guinea (incl. Bioko), Ethiopia, Gabon, Ghana, Guinea, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Liberia, Malawi, Mozambique, Sudan and South Sudan, Swaziland, Tanzania , Zambia, Zimbabwe.

Growth form



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