Ophioglossum - Ophioglossaceae

Ophioglossum bergianum Schltdl.

Photo: JE. Burrows
South Africa






Common name


Rhizome small, fusiform to linear, 9-11 x 1-3 mm, bearing persistent petiole bases. Leaves 2-4. Petiole subterranean, short, usually shorter than 20 mm. Sterile lamina erect, linear to oblanceolate in outline, apex pointed, base narrowly tapering, 28-50 x 1.0-2.5 mm, width: lenght ratio 1:17-60, venation usually apparent. Fertile spike appearing to arise from the rhizome independently of the sterile segment, c. 15-60 mm long, with 3-7 pairs of sporangia and a linear to subulate apiculus up to 8 mm long.



bergianum: after C.H.Bergius (1790-1818), German chemist, plant collector during the three years he lived in Cape Town.


Seasonally wet sands or humic soils in shallow rock depressions that are briefly filled with water during the wet winters in the Cape.

Distribution worldwide

See African distribution.

Distribution in Africa

South Africa.

Growth form



  • Crouch, N.R., Klopper, R.R., Burrows, J.E. & Burrows, S.M. (2011) Ferns of Southern Africa, A comprehensive guide. Struik Nature. Pages 100 - 101. (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 32.