Asplenium - Aspleniaceae

Asplenium multiforme Krasser






Common name


Rhizome short, creeping, 4-10 mm in diameter; rhizome scales dark brown, twisted, clathrate with large cells, concolorous, linear in outline, tapering from the base to a sharp point, with a few filiform outgrowths, c. 6 mm long. Fronds closely spaced, leathery. Stipe 9-14 cm long, not quite as long as lamina, green, becoming chocolate brown, sparsely set with hair-like scales but denser towards the base. Lamina oblong-lanceolate to narrowly ovate or sometimes narrowly triangular in outline, 20-32.5 x 2.5-4 cm, 2-pinnate, hairless. Pinnules wedge-shaped, rhomboid-deltoid, crenate with truncate, erose distal margins, basal pinnule not deeply lobed, mid to dark green above, paler below, veins prominent above. Rhachis green turning brown basally for at least half its lenght, brown hairlike scales deciduous, usually persisting at base of costa. Sori linear in outline, 4-6 mm long, set along radiating veins; indusium linear, entire.



multiforme: of many shapes, relating to the variability in pinnae division and pinnule shape of this species.


Rock crevices in dry areas, sandstone, quartzite or dolorite, rocky outcrops in grassland.

Distribution worldwide

See African distribution; endemic to southern Africa.

Distribution in Africa

Lesotho, South Africa, Swaziland.

Growth form

Lithophytic, terrestrial.


  • Crouch, N.R., Klopper, R.R., Burrows, J.E. & Burrows, S.M. (2011) Ferns of Southern Africa, A comprehensive guide. Struik Nature. Pages 662 - 663. (Includes a picture).
  • Jacobsen, W.B.G. (1983) The Ferns and Fern Allies of Southern Africa. Butterworths, Durban and Pretoria. Pages 368 - 369. (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 91.