Asplenium - Aspleniaceae

Asplenium mossambicense Schelpe

Photo: P. Ballings

Photo: P. Ballings

Photo: P. Ballings






Common name


Rhizome erect, c.5 mm diameter; rhizome scales dark brown, lanceolate, entire, up to 4 mm long. Fronds tufted, proliferous at the base of the terminal pinea, fertile fronds 1/3 longer than sterile fronds. Stipe up to 23 cm (42.5 cm), stipe and rhachis with a few dark brown scales. Lamina 15 cm × 9 cm (sterile), 25 cm × 12 cm (fertile), pinnate. Pinnae glabrous with a few minute scales along the costa, up to 8 pairs, oblong-elliptic, margin crenate, base asymmetrical. Sori linear, set at 45° to the costa; indusium entire, membranous.


Rare fern, endemic to the sub region. Confused with A. christii; A. mossambicense has weakly dimorphic fronds and pinnae that are less widely spaced distally.
Note: Roux (2009) also records this species for Kenya, Beentje (2008, F.T.E.A.) notes that A. mossambicense Schelpe is only known from Zimbabwe and Mozambique. I follow F.T.E.A. and have removed Kenya from the distribution in Africa.


mossambicense: of Mozambique; type specimen was found on Mount Gorongosa in Mozambique.


Deeply shaded moist evergreen forest.

Distribution worldwide

See African distribution.

Distribution in Africa

Mozambique, Zimbabwe.

Growth form

Lithophytic, terrestrial.


  • Beentje, H.J. (2008) Aspleniaceae.Flora of Tropical East Africa, Page 24. Note: A. mossambicense Schelpe is only known from Zimbabwe and Mozambique.
  • Burrows, J.E. (1990) Southern African Ferns and Fern Allies. Frandsen, Sandton. Pages 218 - 220. (Includes a picture).
  • Jacobsen, W.B.G. (1983) The Ferns and Fern Allies of Southern Africa. Butterworths, Durban and Pretoria. Pages 333 - 334. (Includes a picture).
  • Roux, J.P. (2001) Conspectus of Southern African Pteridophyta.Southern African Botanical Diversity Network Report, 13 Page 168.
  • 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 91.
  • Schelpe, E.A.C.L.E. (1970) Pteridophyta.Flora Zambesiaca, 0 Pages 172 - 173.