Hymenophyllum - Hymenophyllaceae

Hymenophyllum hirsutum (L.) Sw.

Photo: P. Ballings

Photo: P. Ballings






Trichomanes hirsutum L.
Sphaerocionium hirsutum (L.) C.Presl.
Hymenophyllum ciliatum (Sw.) Sw.
Trichomanes ciliatum Sw.

Common name


Rhizome creeping, branched, filiform, with dense pale long-armed stellate hairs to 1 mm long. Fronds spaced 1.5–7 cm apart, arching, eventually pendulous. Stipe 1.5–14 cm long, winged in upper part, with reddish hairs, becoming hairless with age. Lamina dark green, deltate to oblong-ovate in outline, 10–24(–40) x 2–8 cm, 2–3-pinnatifid; pinnae in 11–22 pairs, ovate to linear in outline, 1–3 cm long, decurrent, the lower ones shorter; ultimate segments linear, 4–6 mm long, 1–1.5 mm wide, apex rounded; rhachis and costae winged; rhachis, costa and veins with stalked stellate trichomes; lamina margins with trichomes or trichome remnants; lamina surface glabrous. Sori 1–2 per segment, terminal, on upper part of lamina, 1–1.5 mm in diameter; involucre cleft to base or nearly so, ciliate with simple and branched hairs; receptacle included.



hirsutum: hirsute, covered with long, moderately stiff and not interwoven hairs.


Deeply shaded, moist montane forest, bamboo forest.

Distribution worldwide

Africa, Madagascar, Comoro & Mascarene islands and Seychelles.

Distribution in Africa

Cameroon, Central African Republic, Congo, Dem. Republic of Congo, Equatorial Guinea (incl. Bioko), Gabon, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Liberia, Mozambique, Tanzania , Zimbabwe.

Growth form

Epiphytic, lithophytic.


  • Beentje, H.J. (2008) Hymenophyllaceae.Flora of Tropical East Africa, Pages 5 - 6.
  • Burrows, J.E. (1990) Southern African Ferns and Fern Allies. Frandsen, Sandton. Page 100. Mentioned under H. splendidum
  • 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 45.
  • Roux, J.P. (2001) Conspectus of Southern African Pteridophyta.Southern African Botanical Diversity Network Report, 13 Page 44. As Sphaerocionium hirsutum
  • Tardieu-Blot, M.-L. (1964) Ptéridophytes vol.3.Flore du Cameroun, Page 76. (Includes a picture).
  • Thardieu-Blot, M.L. (1964) Ptéridophytes vol.8.Flore du Gabon, Page 57. (Includes a picture).