Asplenium - Aspleniaceae

Asplenium rutifolium (P.J. Bergius) Kunze

Photo: BT. Wursten

Photo: P. Ballings

Photo: P. Ballings

Photo: P. Ballings

Photo: P. Ballings






Caenopteris rutifolium P.J. Bergius
Asplenium achilleifolium (Lam.) C.Chr.
Asplenium bipinnatum (Forssk.) C.Chr.
Asplenium rutifolium (P.J. Bergius) Kunze var. bipinnatum (Forssk.) Schelpe
Lonchitis bipinnata Forssk.
Adiantum achilleifolium Lam.
Caenopteris disticha Spreng.
Asplenium strangeanum Pic.Serm.

Common name


Rhizome erect, up to 50 x 25 mm; rhizome scales dark brown, up to 9 x 1.2 mm, margin subentire, linear-lanceolate to narrowly triangular in outline, 4-9 x 0.8-1.2 (-2.2)mm. Fronds tufted, not proliferous, coriaceous, usually stifly erect. Stipe up to 20 cm, with scattered scales, glabrous at maturity, pale straw-coloured to matt brown when dry. Lamina 7-40 x 2.8-11 cm, 2- to 3-pinnatifid, oblong-lanceolate in outline, basal pinnae hardly or not reduced, apex gradually decrescent. Pinnae in 13-28 pairs, oblong in outline, apex tapering or rounded, up to 3-7 x 0.7-1.7 cm, shortly stalked, hairless or with few small scales below, deeply incised into linear-oblanceolate lobes but with a 2-9 lobed acroscopic basal segment or with some of the lower segments sometimes 2-fid, angled forward at c. 45°, apices rounded. Rhachis narrowly winged or ridged laterally, pale brown when dry with occasional dark brown minute scales. Sori one per lobe, oval, situated on the lateral margin, half way up the lobe, facing toward the pinnae apex, up to 0.8-5 mm; indusium entire, oblong, membranous, to 0.8 mm wide.


Confusion possible with A. theciferum; A. rutifolium has sori born on the side margins not on the tips of the ultimate lobes. It resembles A. dregeanum; A. rutifolium is not gemmiferous.


Rutifolium: with leaves like Ruta, a genus of the Rutaceae family.


Deeply shaded moist and dry evergreen forest, riverine forest.

Distribution worldwide

Africa, Madagascar, Mascarene Isl., Yemen.

Distribution in Africa

Burundi, Dem. Republic of Congo, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Rwanda, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania , Uganda, Zimbabwe.

Growth form

Epiphytic, lithophytic, terrestrial.


  • Beentje, H.J. (2008) Aspleniaceae.Flora of Tropical East Africa, Pages 56 - 57. (Includes a picture).
  • Burrows, J.E. (1990) Southern African Ferns and Fern Allies. Frandsen, Sandton. Pages 236 - 238. (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 630 - 631. (Includes a picture).
  • Fisher, E. & Lobin, W. (2023) Synoptic Revision of Aspleniaceae (Asplenium, Hymenasplenium) of Rwanda. Magnolia Press, New Zealand. Page 41.
  • Jacobsen, W.B.G. (1983) The Ferns and Fern Allies of Southern Africa. Butterworths, Durban and Pretoria. Pages 374 - 376. (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. Pages 95 - 96.
  • Roux, J.P. (2001) Conspectus of Southern African Pteridophyta.Southern African Botanical Diversity Network Report, 13 Page 170.
  • Schelpe, E.A.C.L.E. (1970) Pteridophyta.Flora Zambesiaca, 0 Pages 185 - 187. (Includes a picture).