Elaphoglossum - Lomariopsidaceae

Elaphoglossum acrostichoides (Hook. & Grev.) Schelpe

Photo: P. Ballings

Photo: P. Ballings

Photo: P. Ballings

Photo: P. Ballings






Vittaria acrostichoides Hook. & Grev.
Drymoglossum acrostichoides (Hook. & Grev.) T. Moore
Elaphoglossum preussii Hieron.
Elaphoglossum petiolatum var. rupestris sensu Sim

Common name


Depending on exposure and habitat this species may be very variable in size and shape. Rhizome creeping, 4-8 mm in diameter; rhizome scales pale brown to black, 3-5 mm long, deltate-ovate to lanceolate, margin entire or with filiform outgrows; phyllopodia present, 1-2 cm long, dark brown. Fronds simple, closely spaced to apart, erect or arching, herbaceous to coriaceous, weakly to strongly dimorphic. Sterile fronds: 20-50 cm long, stipe up to 15 cm long, brown to stramineous when dry, grooved ventrally, articulated near the base, glabrous to lightly set with entire, pale brown scales, scales ovate, 4-5 mm long, orange-tan, with small, irregular processes; stipe of sterile fronds on average half as long as that of fertile fronds. Sterile lamina obovate to elliptic to lanceolate in outline, apex rounded, base tapering, 3-35 × 1-3.6 cm, dark green and glabrous above, paler and with a few dot-like scales below, margin entire to wavy; costa prominent, with scattered to sparse lanceolate to ovate-lanceolate scales 2-3 mm long, with irregular processes; veins 1 mm apart, at 80° angle to costa; hydathodes absent. Fertile fronds: same shape and length as sterile fronds but with a longer stipe and a smaller lamina; lamina narrowly elliptic, 23 x 2 cm, intersporangial scales absent. Sporangia covering the undersurface of the lamina except for the midrib.



acrostichoides: similar to Acrostichum, a fern belonging to the Parkeriaceae; members of this family are found in aquatic or swampy habitats.


Variable species occuring in a wide range of habitats: shade in forest, crevices in rocky outcrops in high-altitude grassland, shaded cliff faces near waterfalls, moss-covered earth banks along streams and in montane scrub.

Distribution worldwide

Africa, Madagascar, Comoro Isl., Réunion, São Tomé.

Distribution in Africa

Angola, Burundi, Cameroon, Congo, Dem. Republic of Congo, Equatorial Guinea (incl. Bioko), Ethiopia, Ghana, Guinea, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Lesotho, Liberia, Malawi, Mozambique, Rwanda, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania , Uganda, Zimbabwe.

Growth form

Epiphytic, lithophytic.


  • Burrows, J.E. (1990) Southern African Ferns and Fern Allies. Frandsen, Sandton. Pages 280 - 281. (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 498 - 499. (Includes a picture).
  • Jacobsen, W.B.G. (1983) The Ferns and Fern Allies of Southern Africa. Butterworths, Durban and Pretoria. Pages 413 - 416. (Includes a picture).
  • Mickel, J.T. (2002) Lomariopsidaceae. Flora of Tropical East Africa, Pages 9 - 10. (Includes a picture).
  • 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 125.
  • Roux, J.P. (2001) Conspectus of Southern African Pteridophyta. Southern African Botanical Diversity Network Report, 13 Page 148.
  • Schelpe, E.A.C.L.E. (1970) Pteridophyta. Flora Zambesiaca, 0 Page 210.