Blechnum - Blechnaceae

Blechnum inflexum (Kunze) Kuhn

Photo: JE. Burrows
South Africa

Photo: JE. Burrows

Photo: P. Ballings

Photo: P. Ballings

Photo: P. Ballings






Lomaria discolor Willd. var. natalensis Baker
Lomaria inflexa Kunze
Struthiopteris inflexa (Kunze) Ching

Common name


Rhizome creeping, ending in a thick erect stem of up to 5 cm in diameter; rhizome scales pale brown, linear-lanceolate in outline, apex tapering to a point, up to c. 2.2 cm long, margins entire. Fronds whorled, strongly dimorphic, fertile frond a third to half the size of the sterile frond. Stipe up to 10 (-20 cm) long, strawcoloured turning brown to black in the basal half, densely covered with scales at the base. Sterile lamina 28-45 cm × 5-10 cm, pinnate and oblong-elliptic in outline, apical pinnae overlapping, basal pinnae gradually reduced and spaced apart; pinnae glabrous, oblong in outline, joined onto the rhachis and with rounded to acute apices, margins entire. Fertile lamina 8-22 x 1.4-3 cm, narrowly oblong in outline; pinnae narrowly oblong, densely crowded together and often bending forwards. Sori linear, covering the whole length of the fertile pinnae; indusium continuous, lacerate, c. 2 mm wide.


Resembles B. punctulatum and B. australe. B. inflexum has sori that completely cover the underside of the fertile pinnae, the fertile fronds are conspicuously shorter than the sterile fronds, pinnae of the sterile fronds are overlapping at the apex and adnate.


inflexum: bent inward, refers to the infolded fertile pinnae at maturity.


Terrestrial at foot of boulders or along streambanks in high altitude grassland.

Distribution worldwide

See African distribution.

Distribution in Africa

South Africa, Swaziland, Zimbabwe.

Growth form



  • Burrows, J.E. (1990) Southern African Ferns and Fern Allies. Frandsen, Sandton. Pages 328 - 330. (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 730 - 731. (Includes a picture).
  • Jacobsen, W.B.G. (1983) The Ferns and Fern Allies of Southern Africa. Butterworths, Durban and Pretoria. Pages 461 - 462. (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 103.
  • Roux, J.P. (2001) Conspectus of Southern African Pteridophyta.Southern African Botanical Diversity Network Report, 13 Page 154.
  • Schelpe, E.A.C.L.E. (1970) Pteridophyta.Flora Zambesiaca, 0 Pages 236 - 237.