Lygodium - Lygodiaceae

Lygodium kerstenii Kuhn

Photo: BT. Wursten

Photo: P. Ballings

Photo: P. Ballings

Photo: P. Ballings

Photo: P. Ballings

Photo: P. Ballings






Lygodium brycei Baker
Lygodium subulatum Bojer ex Kuhn

Common name

Climbing fern


Climbing fern. Rhizome creeping, scales linear, blackish-brown, c. 1.5 mm long. Fronds spaced apart, growing to 6-12-20 m high. Stipe and rhachis of an elongated frond function as the climbing stem, from which short secondary rhachises with an opposing pair of pinnae arrise, apical bud densely covered with short brown hairs. Sterile pinnae bipinnate to 3-pinnate or 4-pinnatifid on the basal pinnae, margins toothed to lobed; pinnules lanceolate-oblong, up to 11 cm long,finely hairy along secondary rhachises and the pinnule midribs, veins with scattered hairs on both surfaces. Fertile pinnae bipinnate to 4-pinnate, veins hairy on both surfaces; fertile pinnules up to 9 cm long, with numerous protruding fertile lobes, up to 12 mm long; sporangia 4-14 pairs, arranged in 2 rows along the margins (pinnule apex without fertile lobes).


Differs from L. microphyllum by having hairy veins and more divided pinnae.


kerstenii: named after Otto Kersten ( 1839-1900), a German plant collector


Fringes of evergreen forest, along rivers in riverine forest or woodland; medium altitude, warm areas with high rainfall.

Distribution worldwide

Africa, Comores and Madagascar.

Distribution in Africa

Mozambique, South Africa, Zambia, Zimbabwe.

Growth form



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  • Schelpe, E.A.C.L.E. (1970) Pteridophyta. Flora Zambesiaca, 0 Pages 57 - 59. (Includes a picture).