Asplenium - Aspleniaceae

Asplenium trichomanes L. ssp. quadrivalens D.E. Mey.

Photo: JE. Burrows

Photo: P. Ballings






Chamaefilix trichomanes (L.) Farw.
Asplenium anceps Sol. ex Lowe
Asplenium trichomanes L. var. genuinum Willk.
Asplenium germanicum J.Cardoso

Common name


Rhizome erect; scales dark brown, lanceolate, up to 4 mm long, margins minutely serrulate. Fronds tufted, not proliferous. Stipe up to 9 cm, glabrous, dark-brown to almost black, shiny. Lamina 6-23 cm × 1-1.5 cm, pinnate, oblong-linear in outline. Pinnae obovate to oblong-circular, up to 32 pairs, margins entire to subentire, glabrous above, a few minute scales below. Rhachis dark-brown to blackish, glabrous. Sori 3 or 4 pairs per pinna at 30-45° to the costa, linear or elongate; indusium entire.


Differs from similar species ( A. monanthes and A. lunulatum) by not proliferous fronds, oblong-circular pinnae and 3-4 pairs of sori per pinna.


trichomanes: a growth of hair, it was believed that this fern was a hair restorer.
quadrivalens: quad- = four; valens = strong, stout, powerful.


Rock crevices, in boulder scree on high mountain tops; moist evergreen forest at lower elevations. Terrestrial or lithophyte.

Distribution worldwide

Africa, Macaronesia, Britain, North America

Distribution in Africa

Algeria, Ethiopia, Kenya, Lesotho, Morocco and Western Sahara, Rwanda, Somalia, South Africa, Tanzania , Tunesia, Uganda, Zimbabwe.

Growth form



  • Burrows, J.E. (1990) Southern African Ferns and Fern Allies. Frandsen, Sandton. Pages 228 - 229. (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 614 - 615. (Includes a picture).
  • Fisher, E. & Lobin, W. (2023) Synoptic Revision of Aspleniaceae (Asplenium, Hymenasplenium) of Rwanda. Magnolia Press, New Zealand. Page 46.
  • Jacobsen, W.B.G. (1983) The Ferns and Fern Allies of Southern Africa. Butterworths, Durban and Pretoria. Pages 341 - 342. (Includes a picture).
  • Roux, J.P. (2001) Conspectus of Southern African Pteridophyta.Southern African Botanical Diversity Network Report, 13 Page 172.
  • 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 99.
  • Schelpe, E.A.C.L.E. (1970) Pteridophyta.Flora Zambesiaca, 0 Pages 174 - 175.