Asplenium - Aspleniaceae

Asplenium boltonii Hook. ex Brause & Hieron.

Photo: JE. Burrows
South Africa

Photo: P. Ballings

Photo: P. Ballings

Photo: P. Ballings






Asplenium anisophyllum var. elongatum Mett.
Asplenium anisophyllum Sensu Sim.
Asplenium anisophyllum Kunze var. latifolium Hook.

Common name


Rhizome erect or sometimes shortly creeping, 20 mm thick, fleshy, branching on large plants; rhizome scales brown with pale margins, linear-lanceolate in outline, up to 18 x 2 mm. Fronds uniform, tufted, gemmiferous towards the base of the apical pinna. Stipe up to 26 × 0.4 cm, stipe and rhachis with reddish-brown hairlike scales up to 14 mm long, later becoming subglabrous. Lamina up to 80 × 22 cm, pinnate with 13 to 28 pairs of pinnae, with the lowest pinnae slightly reduced, ovate-lanceolate in outline. Pinnae lanceolate in outline, 4-10(-15) x 1-1.5(-1.8) cm, apex gradually tapering to a point, base asymmetrical, margins irregurly incised into bilobed teeth, hairless above, with scattered hairlike scales below when young, veins forked. Sori oval, 3-8 mm long, set along the veins at 30 degrees to the costa; indusium subelliptic, entire, 1-1.5 mm broad.


Confused with A. anisophyllum but A. boltonii is gemmiferous; confused with A. gemmiferum but A. boltonii has less broad pinnae with margins incised 1/3 way to the costa.


boltonii: type specimen was collected by General D. Bolton in Natal.


Dense shade, along streams in evergreen moist forest.

Distribution worldwide

Africa, Madagascar, Réunion.

Distribution in Africa

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

Growth form

Epiphytic, lithophytic, terrestrial.


  • Beentje, H.J. (2008) Aspleniaceae.Flora of Tropical East Africa, Pages 20 - 21. (Includes a picture).
  • Burrows, J.E. (1990) Southern African Ferns and Fern Allies. Frandsen, Sandton. Page 216. (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 590 - 591. (Includes a picture).
  • Fisher, E. & Lobin, W. (2023) Synoptic Revision of Aspleniaceae (Asplenium, Hymenasplenium) of Rwanda. Magnolia Press, New Zealand. Pages 9 - 10.
  • Jacobsen, W.B.G. (1983) The Ferns and Fern Allies of Southern Africa. Butterworths, Durban and Pretoria. Pages 334 - 335. (Includes a picture).
  • Kornas, J. (1979) Distribution and ecology of the Pteridophytes in Zambia. Polska Akademia Nauk Wydzial II Nauk Biologicznych. Pages 96 - 97.
  • 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.
  • Roux, J.P. (2001) Conspectus of Southern African Pteridophyta.Southern African Botanical Diversity Network Report, 13 Page 163. (Includes a picture).
  • Schelpe, E.A.C.L.E. (1970) Pteridophyta.Flora Zambesiaca, 0 Page 173.