Asplenium - Aspleniaceae

Asplenium blastophorum Hieron.

Photo: P. Ballings

Photo: P. Ballings

Photo: P. Ballings

Photo: P. Ballings






Common name


Rhizome short-creeping, 7 mm thick; rhizome scales dark brown, entire, awl-shaped, up to 5 mm. Fronds closely spaced-tufted, gemmiferous at base of terminal pinna near the apex, thinly coriaceous. Stipe up to 35 cm, stipe and rhachis set with a few brown scales. Lamina 15-48 cm × 8-20 cm, pinnate distally, 2-3 pinnatifid on the basal pair of pinnae, ovate to triangular in outline, basal pair of pinnae the longest. Pinnae ovate to lanceolate in outline, up to 11 x 4.5 cm, apex gradually tapering to a point, base unequal cuneate, incised towards the base into rhombic lobes with toothed outer margins and irregularly shallowly incised, free pinnules with (narrowly) cuneate bases, glabrous except for small lanceolate scales near the extreme base. Sori linear, situated along the veins, 4-30 mm long; indusium entire, linear, membranous.


Differs from similar species by having small plantlets or gemmae towards the frond apices.


blastophorum: bearing shoots, this fern has plantlets on the fronds.


Deep shaded floor of semi-deciduous forest, wet evergreen montane and riverine forest.

Distribution worldwide

See African distribution.

Distribution in Africa

Burundi, Guinea, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Sudan and South Sudan, Tanzania , Togo, Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe.

Growth form

Epiphytic, lithophytic, terrestrial.


  • Beentje, H.J. (2008) Aspleniaceae.Flora of Tropical East Africa, Pages 40 - 41. (Includes a picture).
  • Burrows, J.E. (1990) Southern African Ferns and Fern Allies. Frandsen, Sandton. Page 251. (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 656 - 657. (Includes a picture).
  • Jacobsen, W.B.G. (1983) The Ferns and Fern Allies of Southern Africa. Butterworths, Durban and Pretoria. Pages 358 - 359. (Includes a picture).
  • Kornas, J. (1979) Distribution and ecology of the Pteridophytes in Zambia. Polska Akademia Nauk Wydzial II Nauk Biologicznych. Page 96.
  • Roux, J.P. (2001) Conspectus of Southern African Pteridophyta.Southern African Botanical Diversity Network Report, 13 Pages 162 - 163.
  • 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 80.
  • Schelpe, E.A.C.L.E. (1970) Pteridophyta.Flora Zambesiaca, 0 Page 183.