Asplenium - Aspleniaceae

Asplenium lunulatum Sw.

Photo: JE. Burrows
South Africa






Asplenium erectum Bory ex Willd. var. lunulatum (Sw.) Sim.
Asplenium falcatum Thunb.
Asplenium erectum Bory ex Willd. var. minor Sim
Asplenium lunulatum Sw. var. minor (Sim) Sim

Common name


Rhizome erect to procumbent; scales up to 5 mm long, dark brown, lanceolate, margin entire. Fronds proliferous, tufted, erect to arching. Stipe up to 8 cm, matt brown, glabrous. Lamina 15-35 cm × 2-3.5 cm, pinnate, linear-lanceolate in outline. Pinnae hairless, oblong-rombic to falcate, base asymmetric, apex bluntly acute to obtuse, margins crenate. Sori 5-12 per pinnae, linear-lunate, 2-3 mm long, indusium entire.  


Differs from similar species by having gemmae on the frond tips and 5-12 sori per pinnae.
Beentje, H.J.(2008, F.T.E.A.) remarks that "much of the East African material has been named as A. lunulatum from the 1930s onwards, but that taxon is restricted to Southern Africa".


lunulatum: crescent-shaped, referring to the sori of this fern.


Deeply shaded areas in evergreen riverine forest.

Distribution worldwide

Distribution in Africa

Angola, Equatorial Guinea (incl. Bioko), Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania , Uganda, Zimbabwe.

Growth form

Lithophytic, terrestrial.


  • Beentje, H.J. (2008) Aspleniaceae.Flora of Tropical East Africa, Page 31. A. lunulatum is a taxon that is restricted to Southern Africa.
  • Burrows, J.E. (1990) Southern African Ferns and Fern Allies. Frandsen, Sandton. Pages 224 - 226. (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 608 - 609. (Includes a picture).
  • Jacobsen, W.B.G. (1983) The Ferns and Fern Allies of Southern Africa. Butterworths, Durban and Pretoria. Pages 344 - 345. (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 90.