Hymenophyllum - Hymenophyllaceae

Hymenophyllum sibthorpioides (Bory ex Willd.) Mett. ex Kuhn

Photo: JE. Burrows

Photo: JE. Burrows






Trichomanes parvulum Poir.
Trichomanes sibthorpioides Bory ex Willd.
Microtrichomanes parvulum (Poir.) Copel.
Trichomanes thouarsianum C. Presl

Common name


Rhizome wiry, creeping, hairless or with a few brown hairs to 0.6 mm. Fronds spaced apart (up to 2.5 cm). Stipe up to 3 cm long, wiry, not winged, hairless or with a few brown hairs to 0.6 mm. Lamina dark green, fanshaped to almost circular in outline, up to 1.5 cm in radius, flabellate, palmately divided into up to 30 linear lobes. Lobes linear in outline, up to 4 × 1.5 mm, margins entire, apices rounded, venation repeatedly dichotomously branched, hairless or with a few brown hairs to 0.6 mm on lower veins. Sori at the apices of the lobes, obconic to subcircular, 1-2 mm long, 1-1.5 mm in diameter, indusial valves erose-dentate, ovate; lower part of sorus winged by lamina.


Hard to find and easy to overlook but easily distinguished from other species by its small size and its fan-shaped frond.


sibthorpioides: sibthorpia is a genus of European herbs within the Scrophulariaceae which has leaves of similar appearance to the fronds of this fern.


Deeply shaded evergreen mist forest, moist forest.

Distribution worldwide

Africa, Comoro and Mascarene islands, Madagascar.

Distribution in Africa

Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Tanzania , Zimbabwe.

Growth form

Epiphytic, lithophytic.


  • Beentje, H.J. (2008) Hymenophyllaceae. Flora of Tropical East Africa, Page 11. (Includes a picture).
  • Burrows, J.E. (1990) Southern African Ferns and Fern Allies. Frandsen, Sandton. Pages 94 - 96. (Includes a picture).
  • Jacobsen, W.B.G. (1983) The Ferns and Fern Allies of Southern Africa. Butterworths, Durban and Pretoria. Pages 191 - 193. (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 46.
  • Roux, J.P. (2001) Conspectus of Southern African Pteridophyta. Southern African Botanical Diversity Network Report, 13 Page 43.
  • Schelpe, E.A.C.L.E. (1970) Pteridophyta. Flora Zambesiaca, 0 Page 79. (Includes a picture).