Diplazium - Woodsiaceae

Diplazium zanzibaricum (Baker) C. Chr.






Asplenium zanzibaricum Baker
Aspidium sulcinervium Hieron.
Dryopteris sulcinervia (Hieron.) C.Chr.
Diplazium sulcinervium (Hieron.) C.Chr.
Cornopteris sulcinervia (Hieron.) Tardieu

Common name


Rhizome erect, with a short caudex up to 60 × 15 cm; rhizome scales dark brown, linear-lanceolate, up to 9mm long, margins entire. Fronds large, tufted, arching, firmly herbaceous. Stipe up to 1m long, pale brown, smooth except for a numerous, dark brown, ciliate, hair-like scales, up to 15 mm long, near the base. Lamina 3-pinnatifid to 3-pinnate, up to 1.5m × 1.2m, broadly ovate in outline. Pinnules 15-20 pairs, ovate-lanceolate, apex pointed, base shortly petiolate, truncate to cordate, cut to the costules into oblong, slightly falcate lobes with rounded apices, margins serrate, glabrous on both surfaces, but costae and costules with scattered, minute scales, veins free. Rhachis pale brown, subglabrous. Sori oblong to linear-oval, 0.7-2 mm long, often acroscopic sori arranged back to back; indusium erose.


Could be confused with D. nemorale which differs in having longer and fewer sori per lobe and a smooth stipe base.


zanzibaricum: of Zanzibar, where this fern was first collected.


Deeply shaded streambanks in wet evergreen forest, often where there is a break in the canopy thus allowing slightly more light.

Distribution worldwide

Africa, Madagascar, Comoro islands.

Distribution in Africa

Cameroon, Dem. Republic of Congo, Guinea, Kenya, Liberia, Malawi, Mozambique, Rwanda, South Africa, Tanzania , Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe.

Growth form



  • Burrows, J.E. (1990) Southern African Ferns and Fern Allies. Frandsen, Sandton. Pages 276 - 278. (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 720 - 721. (Includes a picture).
  • Jacobsen, W.B.G. (1983) The Ferns and Fern Allies of Southern Africa. Butterworths, Durban and Pretoria. Pages 409 - 410. (Includes a picture).
  • Kornas, J. (1979) Distribution and ecology of the Pteridophytes in Zambia. Polska Akademia Nauk Wydzial II Nauk Biologicznych. Page 105.
  • 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 219.
  • Roux, J.P. (2001) Conspectus of Southern African Pteridophyta. Southern African Botanical Diversity Network Report, 13 Page 138. (Includes a picture).
  • Schelpe, E.A.C.L.E. (1970) Pteridophyta. Flora Zambesiaca, 0 Pages 205 - 206. (Includes a picture).