Hymenophyllum - Hymenophyllaceae

Hymenophyllum capense Schrad.

Photo: P. Ballings

Photo: P. Ballings






Hymenophyllum natalense Bosch
Hymenophyllum zeyheri Bosch
Hymenophyllum tabulare Bosch
Hymenophyllum fumaroides sensu Sim

Common name


Rhizome very wiry and thin, wide creeping and branching freely, glabrous or nearly so. Fronds spaced 0.5-7 cm apart, variable in form and size depending on humidity and protection given by the habitat. Stipe up to 7 cm long, narrowly winged in the upper part, glabrous. Lamina narrowly ovate to lanceolate in outline, 1.5-11 × 1-3 cm, 2- or 3-pinnatifid, glabrous. Pinnae up to 1 cm long, somewhat acroscopically developed and directed forward, pinnae lobes up to 15 per pinna, ultimate lobes rounded, margin entire. Sori on acroscopic segments situated in the upper half of the frond, oval to obtriangular, 1 or 2 per pinna; indusium ovate to obtriangular, soral valves entire, 1.1-2 mm in diameter.


Can be seperated from other species by having hairless fronds and entire lobe margins. Can be distinguished from H. kuhnii and H. mossambicense by having pinnae that are composed of less than 15 lobes.


capense: of the Cape, this fern was first collected from the Cape of Good Hope


Lithophyte on deeply shaded, wet rock faces in forest or epiphyte in high-altitude, evergreen forest.

Distribution worldwide

Africa, Seychelles, Comoro Islands, Mascarenes and Madagascar.

Distribution in Africa

Malawi, Mozambique, South Africa, Tanzania , Zimbabwe.

Growth form

Epiphytic, lithophytic.


  • Beentje, H.J. (2008) Hymenophyllaceae.Flora of Tropical East Africa, Pages 8 - 9.
  • Burrows, J.E. (1990) Southern African Ferns and Fern Allies. Frandsen, Sandton. Page 96. (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 160 - 161. (Includes a picture).
  • Jacobsen, W.B.G. (1983) The Ferns and Fern Allies of Southern Africa. Butterworths, Durban and Pretoria. Page 193. (Includes a picture).
  • Roux, J.P. (2001) Conspectus of Southern African Pteridophyta.Southern African Botanical Diversity Network Report, 13 Pages 41 - 43. (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. Pages 43 - 44.
  • Schelpe, E.A.C.L.E. (1970) Pteridophyta.Flora Zambesiaca, 0 Page 79.