Diplazium - Woodsiaceae

Diplazium esculentum (Retz.) Sw.






Hemionitis esculenta Retz.
Anisogonium esculentum (Retz.) C.Presl
Callipteris esculentum (Retz.) Houlston & T.Moore

Common name


Rhizome erect, often with a slendert caudex up to 0.5 (1)m × 6 cm; rhizome scales dark brown with black margins, up to 10 mm long, margins finely toothed; vegetatively spreading and forming colonies from root buds. Fronds large, tufted, erect. Stipe up to 6 cm long, grooved, pale brown above, darker and more scaly at the base. Lamina 2- to 3-pinnate, up to 0.85 m × 0.6 m, triangular in outline. Pinnules triangular-linear, variable in size, up to 8 × 2.5 cm, dark green, subsessile, very shallowly cut into lobes with rounded apices, margins toothed, glabrous above, but costules and veins below with scattered, pale brown scales; veins free or forked, basal 3-5 pairs of adjacent veins anastomosing below the sinus. Rhachis grooved, subglabrous with small light brown scales especially along the groove. Sori linear, set along most veins; indusium dark brown, thin, margins becoming uneven with age.


Can be seperated from D. zanzibaricum and D. nemorale by having a triangular, 2- to 3-pinnate lamina with shallowly incised pinnules that have veins anastomising below the sinus of the lobes.


esculentum: edible, some use the young fronds as a vegetable.


exposed or in partial shade in disturbed places, in wet areas such as along streambanks.

Distribution worldwide

Native to Asia, naturalised in South Africa, Zimbabwe, USA, Australia.

Distribution in Africa

South Africa, Zimbabwe.

Growth form



  • Crouch, N.R., Klopper, R.R., Burrows, J.E. & Burrows, S.M. (2011) Ferns of Southern Africa, A comprehensive guide. Struik Nature. Pages 722 - 723. (Includes a picture).
  • Roux, J.P. (2001) Conspectus of Southern African Pteridophyta.Southern African Botanical Diversity Network Report, 13 Pages 137 - 138.
  • 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 217.