Asplenium - Aspleniaceae

Asplenium adiantum-nigrum L. var. adiantum-nigrum

Photo: JE. Burrows
South Africa

Photo: JE. Burrows
South Africa






Tarachia adiantum-nigrum (L.) C.Presl.
Asplenium lucidum Burm.f.
Asplenium adiantum-nigrum L. var. obtusum (Kit. ex Willd.) Hook. & Baker
Asplenium tabulare Schrad.

Common name


Rhizome shortly creeping, ± 4 mm diameter; rhizome scales dark brown, lanceolate in outline, with a latticed appearance, up to 2 mm long. Fronds monomorphic, closely spaced to tufted, thinly coraceous, not proliferous. Stipe 2–23 cm long, shiny black or dark red brown, hairless, the subterranean stipe bases are prominently swollen, semisucculent and pale green. Lamina 2 to 3-pinnate, narrowly deltate to ovate in outline, 4–26 x 2-14 cm; pinnae 7-15 pairs, triangular to broadly ovate in outline, angled forward at 45°, margin evenly dentate with 6-20 small teeth on the ultimate lobes, pinna lobes progressively more dissected towards the base, upper surface hairless, lower surface subglabrous; rhachis black near the base, changing to pale straw coloured towards the apex, hairless. Sori 2-5 per lobe, set along the costae and costules, oval in outline, up to 3 mm long; indusium entire, 0.5-0.7 mm wide.



adiantum-nigrum: black adiantum, vaguely resembling some taxa of the genus Adiantum.


Earth banks in forest, semideciduous scrub, base of boulders in montane grassland, streambanks in montainous areas.

Distribution worldwide

Africa, Réunion, Iran, Europe, North America, Hawaii.

Distribution in Africa

Algeria, Cameroon, Chad, Dem. Republic of Congo, Egypt, Ethiopia, Kenya, Lesotho, Libya, Morocco and Western Sahara, Rwanda, South Africa, Tanzania , Tunesia.

Growth form

Lithophytic, terrestrial.


  • Beentje, H.J. (2008) Aspleniaceae.Flora of Tropical East Africa, Pages 61 - 62. As Asplenium adiantum-nigrum (Includes a picture).
  • Burrows, J.E. (1990) Southern African Ferns and Fern Allies. Frandsen, Sandton. Page 244. (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 642 - 643. (Includes a picture).
  • Fisher, E. & Lobin, W. (2023) Synoptic Revision of Aspleniaceae (Asplenium, Hymenasplenium) of Rwanda.Phytotaxa, 608 (1) Page 9.
  • Jacobsen, W.B.G. (1983) The Ferns and Fern Allies of Southern Africa. Butterworths, Durban and Pretoria. Pages 363 - 364. (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 76.
  • Tardieu-Blot, M.-L. (1964) Ptéridophytes vol.3.Flore du Cameroun, Pages 215 - 216. As Asplenium adiantum-nigrum