Asplenium - Aspleniaceae

Asplenium lobatum Pappe & Rawson

Photo: JE. Burrows
South Africa

Photo: P. Ballings

Photo: P. Ballings

Photo: P. Ballings

Photo: P. Ballings

Photo: P. Ballings






Asplenium lobatum Pappe & Rawson var. pseudoabyssinicum Schelpe & N.C. Anthony
Asplenium gracile Pappe & Rawson
Asplenium erectum Bory ex Willd. var. gracile (Pappe & Rawson) Tardieu
Asplenium erectum Bory ex Willd. var. lobatum (Pappe & Rawson) Sim

Common name


Rhizome erect, up to 7 mm diameter; scales up to 6 mm long, lanceolate, attenuate, pale brown. Fronds tufted, not proliferous or occasionally proliferous at the base of the lamina. Stipe up to 23 cm, stipe and rhachis matt brown, glabrous. Lamina 15-40 cm × 4-15 cm, 2-pinnate to 4-pinnatifid, narrowly lanceolate-elliptic in outline, lower pinnae variously reduced. Pinnae glabrous, incised into rhombic pinnules that are divided into 2- to 3-fid or linear acute lobes.  Sori linear to oblong (oval when dehisced), not marginal, 2-6 per pinnule, indusium entire. 


Differs from similar species by having oval, not marginal sori and gradually decrescent basal pinnae. It can be distinguished from A. varians by having a more dissected lamina and more rounded lobe margins.
Burrows, J.E. (1990) and Crouch N.R. et al. (2011), distinguish 2 varieties: var. lobatum is 2-pinnate (to 3-pinnatifid), has 2-5 pairs of basal pinnae reduced and is not gemmiferous; var. pseudoabyssinicum is 3-pinnate to 4-pinnatifid, basal pinnae are not reduced and is often gemmiferous on the stipe.


lobatum: lobed; this fern has a separate acroscopic lobe on each pinnule


Deeply shaded forest floor in evergreen forest..

Distribution worldwide

Africa, Madagascar.

Distribution in Africa

Malawi, Mozambique, South Africa, Swaziland, Zimbabwe.

Growth form

Lithophytic, terrestrial.


  • Burrows, J.E. (1990) Southern African Ferns and Fern Allies. Frandsen, Sandton. Pages 240 - 242. (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 636 - 639. (Includes a picture).
  • Jacobsen, W.B.G. (1983) The Ferns and Fern Allies of Southern Africa. Butterworths, Durban and Pretoria. Pages 349 - 350. (Includes a picture).
  • Roux, J.P. (2001) Conspectus of Southern African Pteridophyta.Southern African Botanical Diversity Network Report, 13 Page 167.
  • 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 89.
  • Schelpe, E.A.C.L.E. (1970) Pteridophyta.Flora Zambesiaca, 0 Page 177. (Includes a picture).