Asplenium - Aspleniaceae

Asplenium splendens Kunze ssp. drakensbergense A.F. Braithw.






Common name


Rhizome shortly creeping, 4-7 mm thick; rhizome scales brown, clathrate, concolorous, linear-subulate, margin entire or with few filiform outgrowths, c. 5 mm long. Fronds spaced 2-6 mm apart, not proliferous. Stipe 6-19 cm long, scales denser towards stipe base, similar to but smaller than rhizome scales, dark brown becoming green above, sometimes as long as or longer than the lamina. Lamina 5-16 cm × 2-5 cm, 2-pinnate, oblong-lanceolate to narrowly ovate or sometimes narrowly triangular in outline. Pinnules cuneate with truncate, toothed distal margins, shallowly incised into irregular lobes although basal pinnule often deeply lobed, mid to dark green above, shiny, paler below. Rhachis and secondary rhachises green, lightly set with twisted hair-like scales. Sori linear, c. 6 mm long, set along the veins, indusium entire, linear.



splendens: shining, probably referring to the glossy green fronds of this fern;
drakensbergense: from the Drakensberg range to which this subspecies is largely restricted.


Rock crevices, rocky banks and screes in high-altitude grassland or against the Drakansberg escarpment, usually away fron water, on sandstone and basalt substrates.

Distribution worldwide

See African distribution.

Distribution in Africa

Lesotho, South Africa.

Growth form

Lithophytic, terrestrial.


  • Burrows, J.E. (1990) Southern African Ferns and Fern Allies. Frandsen, Sandton. Pages 252 - 254. As Asplenium splendens Kunze (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 660 - 661. (Includes a picture).
  • Jacobsen, W.B.G. (1983) The Ferns and Fern Allies of Southern Africa. Butterworths, Durban and Pretoria. Pages 365 - 366.
  • 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 97.