Anogramma - Pteridaceae

Anogramma leptophylla (L.) Link






Polypodium leptophyllum L.
Asplenium leptophyllum (L.) Sw.
Osmunda leptophylla (L.) Savigny
Acrostichum leptophyllum (L.) Lam. & DC.
Grammitis leptophylla (L.) Sw.

Common name


Rhizome erect, minute, 2-4 mm in diameter; rhizome scales linear. Fronds tufted, fertile fronds a bit longer and more erect than the sterile ones. Stipe up to 5cm long, dark brown, shiny, glabrous but with a few small scales near the base. Lamina up to 5cm long and 3cm wide, 2- to 3- pinnatifid, oblong-ovate in outline, divided into alternate, petiolate pinnae, veins simple or forked, texture thin. Rhachis castaneous to strawcoloured, narrowly winged above. Sori clustered along the veins of the ultimate segments, exindusiate.


Recognisable by its small size. For that reason probably often overlooked or confused with the sporelings of other ferns.


leptophylla: thin-leaved, referring to the membranous fronds.


Moist earth banks below overhanging vegetation, mossy areas below cliffs, around boulders in shade.

Distribution worldwide

Widespread in Africa, also Azores, southern Europe, Iran, Sri Lanka, Australia, New Zealand, Brazil and Mexico.

Distribution in Africa

Algeria, Angola, Cameroon, Dem. Republic of Congo, Djibouti, Egypt, Equatorial Guinea (incl. Bioko), Ethiopia, Kenya, Libya, Malawi, Morocco and Western Sahara, Namibia, Nigeria, South Africa, Sudan and South Sudan, Tanzania , Tunesia, Uganda, Zimbabwe.

Growth form



  • Burrows, J.E. (1990) Southern African Ferns and Fern Allies. Frandsen, Sandton. Pages 114 - 115. (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 310 - 311. (Includes a picture).
  • Jacobsen, W.B.G. (1983) The Ferns and Fern Allies of Southern Africa. Butterworths, Durban and Pretoria. Pages 220 - 221. (Includes a picture).
  • Roux, J.P. (2001) Conspectus of Southern African Pteridophyta.Southern African Botanical Diversity Network Report, 13 Page 58.
  • 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 168.
  • Schelpe, E.A.C.L.E. (1970) Pteridophyta.Flora Zambesiaca, 0 Pages 99 - 100. (Includes a picture).