Hymenophyllum - Hymenophyllaceae

Hymenophyllum tunbridgense (L.) Sm.

Photo: P. Ballings

Photo: P. Ballings

Photo: P. Ballings

Photo: P. Ballings






Trichomanes tunbridgense L.
Hymenophyllum thomassetii C.H. Wright

Common name


Rhizome wiry, creeping, hairless or with a few hairlike scales to 0.5 mm long. Fronds spaced up to 7 cm apart, erect. Stipe 0.5-4 cm long, hairless or with a few minute brown hairs, filiform, not winged or narrowly winged in the upper half. Lamina pale to dark green, lanceolate, narrowly oblong or narrowly elliptic in outline, 3-14 × 1.2-3.5 cm, 2(-3) pinnatifid. Pinnae in 6-14 pairs, bilaterally pinnatifid to 2-pinnatifid in up to 25 lobes; ultimate lobes 3-7 per pinnae, linear in outline, glabrous, margins entire basally, becoming serrate towards the tips. Sori 2(-3) per pinna, borne on the lowest acroscopic lobes, 1-1.2 mm long, 1.1-1.5 mm wide; soral valves serrate, base of the sorus not winged by the lamina lobes.


This fern can be separated from others in by having glabrous fronds and lobe margins that are serrated towards the apices.


tunbri(d)gense: this fern was first collected in southern England, in the towns of either Tonbridge or Tunbridge Wells.


Montane or forest areas that receive frequent mist.

Distribution worldwide

Africa, Madagascar, Mauritius, western and southern Europe.

Distribution in Africa

Gabon, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania , Zimbabwe.

Growth form

Epiphytic, lithophytic, terrestrial.


  • Beentje, H.J. (2008) Hymenophyllaceae.Flora of Tropical East Africa, Page 8. (Includes a picture).
  • Burrows, J.E. (1990) Southern African Ferns and Fern Allies. Frandsen, Sandton. Pages 97 - 98. (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 162 - 163. (Includes a picture).
  • Jacobsen, W.B.G. (1983) The Ferns and Fern Allies of Southern Africa. Butterworths, Durban and Pretoria. Pages 194 - 195. (Includes a picture).
  • Roux, J.P. (2001) Conspectus of Southern African Pteridophyta.Southern African Botanical Diversity Network Report, 13 Page 41.
  • 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 47.
  • Schelpe, E.A.C.L.E. (1970) Pteridophyta.Flora Zambesiaca, 0 Page 80. (Includes a picture).