Microsorum - Polypodiaceae

Microsorum scandens (G. Forst.) Tindale






Phymatosorus scandens (G.Forst.) Pic.Serm.

Common name


Rhizome widely creeping, 2-4 mm in diameter; scales brown, narrowly ovate, 2-8 mm long. Fronds spaced apart, dimorphic and musk-scented when fresh, variable, glabrous on both surfaces, herbaceous. Stipe up to 15 cm long, pale brown, glabrous except at articulated base. Lamina up to 50 × 18 cm, linear (young fronds) to elliptic (older fronds), simple, deeply pinnatifid, up to 20 pairs of lobes and a long terminal segment, base tapering into stipe. Pinna lobes slightly falcate, narrowly oblong, attenuate to acute, veins reticulate, margin entire to somewhat wavy. Sori round to oval, 1-2.5 mm in diameter, placed close to the margins, exindusiate, with nonpeltate paraphyses.



scandens: climbing, this fern has a climbing habit.


On moist streambanks in light or deep shade.

Distribution worldwide

Introduced in South Africa and Zimbabwe. A native of Australia, New Zealand and Lord Howe island in Australasia.

Distribution in Africa

South Africa, Zimbabwe.

Growth form

Lithophytic, terrestrial.


  • Burrows, J.E. (1990) Southern African Ferns and Fern Allies. Frandsen, Sandton. Pages 338 - 339. (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 554 - 555. (Includes a picture).
  • Roux, J.P. (2001) Conspectus of Southern African Pteridophyta.Southern African Botanical Diversity Network Report, 13 Page 101.
  • 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 161.