Ophioglossum - Ophioglossaceae

Ophioglossum gracile Pocock ex J.E.Burrows






Common name


Rhizome linear in outline, 13-22 mm long; not having any persistent petiole bases; roots fleshy, horizontal, proliferous. Leaves 1 or 2, held at 50-60% from the ground. Petiole 21-48 mm long, 50-70 % of its lenght subterranean. Sterile lamina narrowly elliptic to narrowly ovate, apex pointed, base narrowly wedge-shaped to gradually tapering, 26-32 x 7-9 mm, width:lenght ratio 1:2.3-7.5, margins even. Fertile spike arising from the base of the lamina, 76-108 mm long. Sporangia in 18-22 pairs.



gracile: thin or slender, this species has (like some other Ophioglossum species) narrow leaves.


Restricted to the sandstones of the Table Mountain series, growing in ericoid scrub (fynbos) and occuring mainly on wet soils or seepage zones in light shade.

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 112 - 113. (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 33.