Elaphoglossum - Lomariopsidaceae

Elaphoglossum hybridum (Bory) Brack.

Photo: P. Ballings

Photo: P. Ballings

Photo: P. Ballings






Acrostichum hybridum Bory
Acrostichum ciliatum Desv.
Olfersia hybrida (Bory) C. Presl
Elaphoglossum tricholepis (Baker) C.Chr.

Common name


Rhizome shortly creeping, often appearing to be erect, diameter to 7 mm; rhizome scales blackish brown, linear-lanceolate in outline, tapering to a point, margins entire, up to 5 mm long; phyllopodia absent. Fronds tufted, firmly herbaceous, simple, brittle, deep green, arching, strongly dimorphous. Sterile frond: stipe up to 20 cm long, straw-coloured to pale brown, with many black, squarrose deciduous scales, to 5 mm, also with sparse minute erect glandular hairs at base of the stipe; lamina (5.5-)14-22 × 2.2-5.5 cm, narrowly oblong to narrowly elliptic in outline, apex pointed, base wedge-shaped to rounded, margin and midrib set with small, deciduous, linear, black scales, 1-2 mm long on the lower surface, upper surface glabrous; veins evident, free, simple or once forked, 1-2 mm apart, at 70-80° angle to the costa; hydathodes absent. Fertile frond: usually ± half the lenght of the sterile; stipe scales as sterile frond; lamina narrower than sterile lamina, 3.1-15 x 1.4-3 cm, narrowly oblong to narrowly ovate in outline, apex and base similar to sterile lamina, costa with few scales, marginal scales absent; veins parallel and visible; sporangia covering the whole undersurface of the lamina; intersporangial scales absent.


Can be confused with E. chevalieri, this fern however has rusty brown (not blackish) scales occuring over the whole lamina, above and below, and a densely hairy stipe.


hybridum: of hybrid origin, reference unclear.


Growing on moist earth banks next to water or on wet rock faces in deeply shaded ravines in evergreen forest, also bamboo zone and moorland.

Distribution worldwide

Possibly of circumpolar origin, occuring on the subantartic islands Gough & Tristan da Cunha, also Africa, Comoro Isl., Réunion, Mauritius.

Distribution in Africa

Cameroon, Congo, Dem. Republic of Congo, Equatorial Guinea (incl. Bioko), Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Rwanda, South Africa, Tanzania , Uganda, Zimbabwe.

Growth form

Lithophytic, terrestrial.


  • Burrows, J.E. (1990) Southern African Ferns and Fern Allies. Frandsen, Sandton. Pages 291 - 292. (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 512 - 513. (Includes a picture).
  • Jacobsen, W.B.G. (1983) The Ferns and Fern Allies of Southern Africa. Butterworths, Durban and Pretoria. Page 420. (Includes a picture).
  • Mickel, J.T. (2002) Lomariopsidaceae.Flora of Tropical East Africa, Pages 15 - 16. (Includes a picture).
  • Roux, J.P. (2001) Conspectus of Southern African Pteridophyta.Southern African Botanical Diversity Network Report, 13 Page 151.
  • 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 128 - 129.
  • Schelpe, E.A.C.L.E. (1970) Pteridophyta.Flora Zambesiaca, 0 Page 213.
  • Tardieu-Blot, M.-L. (1964) Ptéridophytes vol.3.Flore du Cameroun, Pages 303 - 304. (Includes a picture).