Blechnum - Blechnaceae

Blechnum spicant (L.) Roth






Osmunda spicant L.
Lonchitis-aspera spicant (L.) Hill. ex Farw.

Common name

Deer fern


Rhizome slender, short-creeping or ascending. Fronds dimorphic, tufted, erect or spreading, fertile fronds more erect and longer than sterile ones. Stipe reddish brown to purple-black, coarsely scaly proximally, fertile stipe (15-60 cm), longer than sterile one (2-30 cm). Fertile lamina erect, narrowly rhombic in outline, pinnate, without conform terminal pinna, 25-65 × 3-15 cm, glabrous; pinnae sessile, base prolonged down the rhachis, larger pinnae slightly curved, linear, 25-32 × 1.5-2 mm, margins entire, costae with indument of a few small scales abaxially, often concealed by sori. Sterile lamina spreading, narrowly oblanceolate to linear-lanceolate in outline, pinnatifid to apex and so without conform terminal pinna, 20-75 × 3-14 cm, tapering at base, glabrous; pinnae closely spaced, base fully adnate, larger pinnae curved, linear to oblong-linear or barely wider beyond middle, 15-35 × 3.5-5 mm, margins entire. Rhachises of fertile and sterile lamina with filiform, spreading scales abaxially.




Wet ravines, edges of streams.

Distribution worldwide

Africa, native to Europe and North America.

Distribution in Africa

Algeria, Morocco and Western Sahara, Tunesia.

Growth form



  • Morin, N.R. () Pteridophytes and Gymnosperms.Flora of North America: North of Mexico, vol.2, Page 0.
  • 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 105.