Asplenium - Aspleniaceae

Asplenium pumilum Sw.

Photo: JE. Burrows

Photo: P. Ballings






Asplenium eylesii Sim
Asplenium pumilum Sw. subsp. hymenophylloides (Fée) Schelpe

Common name


Rhizome 3-5 mm thick, erect, short; rhizome scales black with pale pseudoserrated margins, awl-shaped, up to 4.5 mm long, with long hair tip. Fronds tufted, not proliferous, erect, softly herbaceous. Stipe 2-10 cm, greenish above becoming dark brown below; stipe and rhachis are thinly covered with fine pale hair-like scales. Lamina 3-11 cm × 2-6(-12) cm, ovate to triangular in outline, 2-pinnatifid to 3-pinnatifid, basal pinnae the largest. Pinnae rhombic to narrowly triangular, up to 6 x 3 cm; lobes ovate to obcuneate, margins irregularly toothed, thinly pubescent on both surfaces mainly along the veins. Sori 2-10 per lobe, set at a slight angle to the costa, linear, 2-5 mm long; indusium entire to slightly erose, 0.3-0.6 mm wide.



pumilum: dwarf, short;
hymenophylloides: like Hymenophyllum, a genus of ferns with thin fronds.


Shaded and seasonally moist situations in deciduous riverine forest and deciduous miombo woodland, banks of rivers and seasonal streams.

Distribution worldwide

Africa, Madagascar, north-western India, neotropics.

Distribution in Africa

Burundi, Ethiopia, Malawi, Sudan and South Sudan, Tanzania , Zambia, Zimbabwe.

Growth form

Lithophytic, terrestrial.


  • Beentje, H.J. (2008) Aspleniaceae.Flora of Tropical East Africa, Pages 63 - 64. (Includes a picture).
  • Burrows, J.E. (1990) Southern African Ferns and Fern Allies. Frandsen, Sandton. Page 255. (Includes a picture).
  • Jacobsen, W.B.G. (1983) The Ferns and Fern Allies of Southern Africa. Butterworths, Durban and Pretoria. Pages 352 - 353. (Includes a picture).
  • 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 95.
  • Roux, J.P. (2001) Conspectus of Southern African Pteridophyta.Southern African Botanical Diversity Network Report, 13 Pages 169 - 170.
  • Schelpe, E.A.C.L.E. (1970) Pteridophyta.Flora Zambesiaca, 0 Page 178.