Asplenium - Aspleniaceae

Asplenium varians Wall. ex Hook. & Grev. ssp. fimbriatum (Kunze) Schelpe

Photo: P. Ballings
South Africa

Photo: P. Ballings
South Africa

Photo: P. Ballings
South Africa

Photo: P. Ballings
South Africa






Asplenium fimbriatum Kunze
Asplenium varians sensu Sim
Asplenium semivarians Viane & Reichstein

Common name


Rhizome erect, up to 9 mm thick; rhizome scales dark brown, lanceolate in outline, apex gradually tapering to a point, up to 3 mm long, margins (sub)entire. Fronds erect or arching, not proliferous, tufted, herbaceous. Stipe up to 13 cm long, set with a few scattered hair-like scales up to 2 mm long especially towards the base, matt brown. Lamina 5-23 cm × 1.5-5 cm, 2-pinnatifid to 2-pinnate, ovate-lanceolate to narrowly elliptic in outline, lower 1-3 pairs of pinnae somewhat reduced, not decrescent.  Pinnae up to 10 pairs, to 3 x 1.3 cm, venation pinnate, pinnatifid with the basal acroscopic lobe often free, outer margins sharply toothed, glabrous above, subglabrous below. Rhachis glabrous, narrowly winged. Sori 2-5 per lobe, linear to oval, 2-4 mm long, indusium linear, 0.3-0.5 mm wide, almost transparent, erose.


Confusion with A. lobatum possible. A. varians has a less finely divided lamina with serrate-dentate lobe margins.


varians: referring to the variability of the species
fimbriatum: "the margin has long slender processes" referring to the elongated serrations of the pinnules.


Rock crevicesor on moss covered boulders in evergreen or semi-deciduous forest.

Distribution worldwide

Distribution in Africa

Dem. Republic of Congo, Kenya, Lesotho, Mozambique, South Africa, Tanzania , Uganda, Zimbabwe.

Growth form

Epiphytic, lithophytic.


  • Beentje, H.J. (2008) Aspleniaceae.Flora of Tropical East Africa, Page 61. (Includes a picture).
  • Burrows, J.E. (1990) Southern African Ferns and Fern Allies. Frandsen, Sandton. Page 242. (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 640 - 641. (Includes a picture).
  • Jacobsen, W.B.G. (1983) The Ferns and Fern Allies of Southern Africa. Butterworths, Durban and Pretoria. Pages 350 - 351. (Includes a picture).
  • Roux, J.P. (2001) Conspectus of Southern African Pteridophyta.Southern African Botanical Diversity Network Report, 13 Pages 172 - 173.
  • 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 100.
  • Schelpe, E.A.C.L.E. (1970) Pteridophyta.Flora Zambesiaca, 0 Page 177. (Includes a picture).