Lygodium - Lygodiaceae

Lygodium smithianum C.Presl. ex Kuhn

Photo: BT. Wursten
Dem. Republic of Congo

Photo: BT. Wursten
Dem. Republic of Congo






Common name


Rhizome bearing brown hairs. Fronds up to 10 m, 2-pinnate, texture subcoriaceous; pinnae 12-14 cm apart, 20 (7-30)cm long, petiole 3 cm, imparipinnate; pinnules alternate, c.7 (3–22.5 × 1–3) cm long, petiole 0.2-0.4 cm, hairy, not articulated, linear in outline, apex rounded to pointed, base decurrent on the winged petiole, margins toothed, with oblique, acute teeth, the pair of pinnules close to the terminal often adnate, decurrent on the petiole; rhachis covered with short soft hair, up to 3 mm thick, often straw-coloured or light brown; veins 2- or 4-forked, free. Fertile pinnules similar to sterile ones, linear in outline, 5-9 cm long, base truncate, slightly decurrent; spikes of 0.2 to 0.3 cm.



smithiana: for Christen Smith (1785-1816), botanist and professor of botany at the University of Christiania (now Oslo), moved to Britain in 1814, collected this fern in Congo.


Secondary forests, clearings, thickets, along the edges of ditches, on dry to moist or recently disturbed soils, in full light, at low altitudes.

Distribution worldwide

See African distribution.

Distribution in Africa

Angola, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Congo, Dem. Republic of Congo, Equatorial Guinea (incl. Bioko), Gabon, Ghana, Guinea, Ivory Coast, Liberia, Nigeria.

Growth form

Climbing, terrestrial.


  • Lawalrée, A. (1970) Schizaeaceae.Flore du Congo, du Rwanda et du Burundi, Page 4. (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 54.
  • Tardieu-Blot, M.-L. (1964) Ptéridophytes vol.3.Flore du Cameroun, Page 64. (Includes a picture).
  • Thardieu-Blot, M.L. (1964) Ptéridophytes vol.8.Flore du Gabon, Pages 46 - 47. (Includes a picture).