Asplenium - Aspleniaceae

Asplenium hypomelas Kuhn

Photo: P. Ballings

Photo: P. Ballings

Photo: BT. Wursten

Photo: P. Ballings






Davallia hollandii Sim
Davallia nigrescens Hook.
Loxoscaphe nigrescens (Hook.) T. Moore
Asplenium hollandii (Sim) C. Chr.
Asplenium floccigerum Rosenst.
Asplenium spathulatum Peter

Common name


Rhizome erect, to 15 mm diameter; rhizome scales lanceolate in outline, glossy pale brown, up to 13 x 2.5 mm, hair-pointed, fimbriate. Fronds tufted, aching, not proliferous, herbaceous. Stipe 18-45 cm long, stipe and rhachis matt brown, sparsely set with hair-pointed scales. Lamina 50-100 × 19-50 cm, lanceolate in outline, 4-pinnate, acroscopic pinnules more developed, basal pinnae somewhat reduced. Pinnae up to 25 pairs, lanceolate in outline, up to 26 x 9 cm. Ultimate lobes c. 0.8-2 mm broad, hairless, oblanceolate, acute, margins entire. Sori cup-shaped, solitary, situated on the acroscopic side of the ultimate segments, protuding from the lobe margin, broadly oblong, 1-1.5 mm long; indusium entire, membranous, to 1 mm long/wide.


Differs from similar species by having distinctive cup-shaped, protuding sori and finely divided fronds.


hypo: below and melas: black; probably a reference to the dark environment in which this fern grows


Deeply shaded evergreen forest, often on tree ferns, sometimes terrestrial, rarely on rock.

Distribution worldwide

See African distribution.

Distribution in Africa

Angola, Burundi, Cameroon, Congo, Dem. Republic of Congo, Equatorial Guinea (incl. Bioko), Ethiopia, Guinea, Kenya, Liberia, Malawi, Mozambique, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Sudan and South Sudan, Tanzania , Uganda, Zimbabwe.

Growth form



  • Beentje, H.J. (2008) Aspleniaceae.Flora of Tropical East Africa, Pages 48 - 49. (Includes a picture).
  • Burrows, J.E. (1990) Southern African Ferns and Fern Allies. Frandsen, Sandton. Pages 239 - 240. (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 634 - 635. (Includes a picture).
  • Fisher, E. & Lobin, W. (2023) Synoptic Revision of Aspleniaceae (Asplenium, Hymenasplenium) of Rwanda. Magnolia Press, New Zealand. Page 18.
  • Jacobsen, W.B.G. (1983) The Ferns and Fern Allies of Southern Africa. Butterworths, Durban and Pretoria. Pages 377 - 378. (Includes a picture).
  • Roux, J.P. (2001) Conspectus of Southern African Pteridophyta.Southern African Botanical Diversity Network Report, 13 Page 166.
  • 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 87 - 88.
  • Schelpe, E.A.C.L.E. (1970) Pteridophyta.Flora Zambesiaca, 0 Pages 187 - 188. (Includes a picture).
  • Tardieu-Blot, M.-L. (1964) Ptéridophytes vol.3.Flore du Cameroun, Page 226.