Vittaria - Adiantaceae

Vittaria volkensii Hieron.

Photo: P. Ballings

Photo: P. Ballings

Photo: P. Ballings

Photo: . ┬ęBotanic Garden Meise (BR)






Haplopteris volkensii (Hieron.) E.H.Crane

Common name


Rhizome shortly creeping, branched, c. 3 mm in diameter; rhizome scales dark brown, (4-)6-8 mm long, pseudo-serrate to entire lanceolate in outline, clathrate, apex hair-pointed. Fronds simple, numerous, spaced 1-10 mm apart, hanging, 30-60 cm long. Stipe glossy black, 5-20 mm long. Lamina 2-5.5 mm wide, narrowly linear in outline, tapering to a point, base tapering into the stipe, shiny dark green above, paler below; midrib distinctly raised below. Sori in two intramarginal grooves; indusium continuous, on both sides of each soral row.


Is distinguished from other species by its black stipe, long and hairpointed rhizome scales.


volkensii: named after G. Volkens, German plant collecter who collected on Mt Kilimanjaro between 1892 and 1894.


Epiphyte in mid-altitude evergreen forest or lithophyte on mossy boulders near streams in riverine forests.

Distribution worldwide

Distribution in Africa

Congo, Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Sudan and South Sudan, Tanzania , Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe.

Growth form

Epiphytic, lithophytic.


  • Burrows, J.E. (1990) Southern African Ferns and Fern Allies. Frandsen, Sandton. Page 110. (Includes a picture).
  • Jacobsen, W.B.G. (1983) The Ferns and Fern Allies of Southern Africa. Butterworths, Durban and Pretoria. Pages 214 - 215. (Includes a picture).
  • Roux, J.P. (2001) Conspectus of Southern African Pteridophyta.Southern African Botanical Diversity Network Report, 13 Page 84.
  • Roux, J.P. (2009) Synopsis of the Lycopodiophyta and Pteridophyta of Africa, Madagascar and neighbouring islands. Strelitzia 23, South African National Biodiversity Institute, Pretoria. Pages 74 - 75.
  • Schelpe, E.A.C.L.E. (1970) Pteridophyta.Flora Zambesiaca, 0 Pages 94 - 96. (Includes a picture).
  • Verdcourt, B. (1999) Vittariaceae.Flora of Tropical East Africa, Page 3. (Includes a picture).