Elaphoglossum - Lomariopsidaceae

Elaphoglossum deckenii (Kuhn) C. Chr.

Photo: P. Ballings

Photo: P. Ballings






Acrostichum deckenii Kuhn
Elaphoglossum hirtum C.Chr. var. giganteum Bonap.
Elaphoglossum ruwenzorii Pirotta

Common name


Rhizome short creeping, up to 2.5(-10) mm in diameter; rhizome scales 3-5 mm long, dark brown to black, shining, linear-lanceolate in outline, ciliate; phyllopodia distinct. Fronds clustered, erect or arching, firmly herbaceous, dimorphous. Sterile frond: 18-85 cm long, stipe up to 20 cm long, straw-coloured to brown, grooved, densely set with lanceolate, pale brown, ciliate scales; lamina up to 12-75 × 2-5 mm, narrowly elliptic to lanceolate in outline, apex tapering to a point, base wedge-shaped, margin entire, thinly set with ovate to linear-lanceolate, pale brown (under surface) to whitish (upper surface), ciliate, c. 3 mm long scales on both surfaces, costa prominent; veins obscured by scales, free, simple or once-forked, c. 1 mm apart, at c. 70° angle to costa; hydathodes absent. Fertile frond: stipe c. 16 cm long, covered with scales similar to the sterile frond; lamina up to 10-24 × 1-2 cm, linear-lanceolate in outline with the two sides conspicuously reflexed backwards, apex rounded to pointed, base wedge-shaped to truncate or rounded, set with ciliate scales similar to those on the sterile frond on the upper surface and along the midrib below; intersporangial scales absent; sori covering the whole undersurface of the lamina.


Differs from E. kuhnii by having black rhizome scales.


deckenii: this fern was first collected in Tanzania by Baron Carl von Decken (1833-1865), a German explorer.


Moist montane forest and up to giant heath zone.

Distribution worldwide

Africa, Madagascar, Comoro islands and Réunion.

Distribution in Africa

Dem. Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Rwanda, Tanzania , Uganda, Zimbabwe.

Growth form

Epiphytic, lithophytic, terrestrial.


  • Burrows, J.E. (1990) Southern African Ferns and Fern Allies. Frandsen, Sandton. Pages 288 - 289. (Includes a picture).
  • Jacobsen, W.B.G. (1983) The Ferns and Fern Allies of Southern Africa. Butterworths, Durban and Pretoria. Pages 425 - 426. (Includes a picture).
  • Mickel, J.T. (2002) Lomariopsidaceae.Flora of Tropical East Africa, Pages 14 - 15. (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. Pages 127 - 128.
  • Roux, J.P. (2001) Conspectus of Southern African Pteridophyta.Southern African Botanical Diversity Network Report, 13 Page 150.
  • Schelpe, E.A.C.L.E. (1970) Pteridophyta.Flora Zambesiaca, 0 Page 215.