Asplenium - Aspleniaceae

Asplenium ruta-muraria L.






Asplenium ruta-muraria L. var. brevifolium (Roth) Heufl.
Asplenium ruta-muraria L. var. angustifolium Haller ex H.Christ
Asplenium ruta-muraria L. var. subcuneifolium H.Christ

Common name

Ebony spleenwort.


Rhizome erect, occasionally branching; rhizome scales clathrate, to 3mm, dark brown. Frond 15 x 5 cm, evergreen, monomorphic, blade/stipe ratio: 1:2 to 1:1. Stipe purple-brown at base, fading to green, dark brown, narrowly deltate scales at base grading into multicellular hairs. Lamina 2-pinnate at the base, said to be occasionally more divided, always less upwards, oblong-triangular in outline, leathery, dull, commonly with tiny glandular hairs and a few linear scales. Pinnae 2 to 5 pairs, opposite to alternate, stemmed, variable in shape, margins toothed, veins free, forking. Sori linear, along a vein; indusium translucent, pale tan, fimbriate, hidden by sporangia at maturity, on one side of the sorus, opening toward the middle of the segment.



ruta: the bitter herb rue; murus: a wall.


Rock crevices and screes, on limestone.

Distribution worldwide

Europe, northern Africa, Mideast, central Asia, Japan, eastern North America.

Distribution in Africa

Algeria, Morocco and Western Sahara.

Growth form



  • 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 95.
  • Stuart, T. (2004-) Hardy Fern Library. Published on the internet: Page 0. (Includes a picture).