Asplenium - Aspleniaceae

Asplenium formosum Willd.

Photo: JE. Burrows

Photo: P. Ballings






Common name


Rhizome c. 3 mm thick, erect; scales brown with pale entire borders, up to 3 mm long. Fronds tufted, not proliferous. Stipe short, up to 3 cm long, stipe and rhachis blackish-brown to black, narrowly winged. Lamina 10-31 cm × 1.3-3.5 cm, pinnate to 2-pinnatifid, narrowly lanceolate to linear in outline. Pinnae up to 50 pairs, glabrous, lower pinnae gradually reducing in size, margins entire on the basiscopic side and deeply incised into linear simple or bifid lobes on the acroscopic side. Sori 1 to 3 per pinna, linear to oval, situated on the basal margins of the pinnae, indusium entire.


Differs from similar species by not having proliferous fronds.


formosum: beautiful, finely formed


Deep shade in forest, boulders in riverine forest. Epiphyte or lithophyte.

Distribution worldwide

Africa, also Tropical America and Indian subcontinent.

Distribution in Africa

Angola, Burundi, Cameroon, Dem. Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Gabon, Ghana, Guinea, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Liberia, Malawi, Mozambique, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Sudan and South Sudan, Tanzania , Togo, Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe.

Growth form

Epiphytic, lithophytic.


  • Burrows, J.E. (1990) Southern African Ferns and Fern Allies. Frandsen, Sandton. Page 230. (Includes a picture).
  • Jacobsen, W.B.G. (1983) The Ferns and Fern Allies of Southern Africa. Butterworths, Durban and Pretoria. Pages 356 - 358. (Includes a picture).
  • Kornas, J. (1979) Distribution and ecology of the Pteridophytes in Zambia. Polska Akademia Nauk Wydzial II Nauk Biologicznych. Page 99.
  • Roux, J.P. (2001) Conspectus of Southern African Pteridophyta.Southern African Botanical Diversity Network Report, 13 Page 164.
  • 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 85.
  • Schelpe, E.A.C.L.E. (1970) Pteridophyta.Flora Zambesiaca, 0 Pages 179 - 180.
  • Tardieu-Blot, M.-L. (1964) Ptéridophytes vol.3.Flore du Cameroun, Pages 196 - 198. (Includes a picture).
  • Thardieu-Blot, M.L. (1964) Ptéridophytes vol.8.Flore du Gabon, Pages 133 - 134.