Blechnum - Blechnaceae

Blechnum attenuatum (Sw.) Mett.

Photo: P. Ballings

Photo: BT. Wursten

Photo: P. Ballings
South Africa

Photo: P. Ballings
South Africa

Photo: P. Ballings
South Africa

Photo: P. Ballings
South Africa

Photo: P. Ballings
South Africa






Blechnum attenuatum (Sw.) Mett. var. giganteum (Kaulf.) Bonap.
Blechnum giganteum (Kaulf.) Schltdl.
Lomaria attenuata (Sw.) Willd.
Onoclea attenuata Sw.
Blechnum polypodioides (Sw.)Kuhn var. holstii Hieron.
Spicanta attenuata (Sw.) Kuntze
Blechnum attenuatum (Sw.) Mett. var. holstii (Hieron.) Schelpe

Common name

Pink-leaved blechnum


Rhizome creeping to suberect, up to 4 cm thick and up to 50 cm long; rhizome scales pale to dark brown, 1.2-2 x 0.1-0.3 cm, linear-lanceolate in outline, apex gradually tapering to a point, margins entire. Fronds dimorphic, tufted, thinly to firmly leathery. Stipe up to 12 (-28)cm, pale brown and glabrous except for scales similar to the rhizome clustered at the base. Sterile lamina 23-180 × 4.5-36 cm, narrowly elliptic to lanceolate in outline, pinnate, pinnae gradually reducing downwards with lowermost pinnae rudimentary; pinnae 3-18 x 1-1.8 cm triangular-oblong to linear in outline, apex gradually tapering to a point, base broadly attached to the rhachis, margin entire. Fertile fronds similar in size or longer than sterile fronds, pinnae thin, linear in outline, 4-14 x 0.3-0.4 cm, base widened and joined to the rhachis. Sori linear, covering the whole length of the fertile pinnae; indusium linear, 1 mm wide, entire to slightly erose.


B. attenuatum resembles B. inflexum and B. punctulatum. In B. attenuatum the fertile fronds are of similar size as the sterile fronds, sterile pinnae are not overlapping towards the lamina apex, base of the pinnae is adnate to the rhachis.


attenuatum: tapering, pinnae taper to a sharp point.


Streambanks in open montane grassland or shaded areas in evergreen forest.

Distribution worldwide

Africa, Madagascar, the Comoro Islands, Réunion, Mauritius.

Distribution in Africa

Burundi, Cameroon, Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Rwanda, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania , Zambia, Zimbabwe.

Growth form

Epiphytic, lithophytic, terrestrial.


  • Burrows, J.E. (1990) Southern African Ferns and Fern Allies. Frandsen, Sandton. Pages 326 - 328. (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 728 - 729. (Includes a picture).
  • Jacobsen, W.B.G. (1983) The Ferns and Fern Allies of Southern Africa. Butterworths, Durban and Pretoria. Pages 460 - 461. as Blechnum giganteum (Includes a picture).
  • Kornas, J. (1979) Distribution and ecology of the Pteridophytes in Zambia. Polska Akademia Nauk Wydzial II Nauk Biologicznych. Page 119.
  • Lawalrée, A. (1971) Blechnaceae.Flore du Congo, du Rwanda et du Burundi, Pages 4 - 5.
  • Parris, B.S. (2006) Blechnaceae.Flora of Tropical East Africa, Pages 2 - 4. (Includes a picture).
  • Roux, J.P. (2001) Conspectus of Southern African Pteridophyta.Southern African Botanical Diversity Network Report, 13 Pages 153 - 154.
  • 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 101 - 102.
  • Schelpe, E.A.C.L.E. (1970) Pteridophyta.Flora Zambesiaca, 0 Pages 235 - 236.
  • Tardieu-Blot, M.-L. (1964) Ptéridophytes vol.3.Flore du Cameroun, Page 295. (Includes a picture).