Deparia - Woodsiaceae

Deparia japonica (Thunb.) M.Kato






Asplenium japonicum Thunb.
Diplazium japonicum (Thunb.) Bedd.
Athyrium japonicum (Thunb.) Copel.
Lunathyrium japonicum (Thunb.) Sa. Kurata
Athyriopsis japonica (Thunb.) Ching

Common name

Black lady fern.


Rhizome short-creeping, branching, c. 5 mm in diameter; rhizome scales lanceolate in outline, apex gradually tapering to a point, margin entire, 3-6 mm long, uniformly midbrown. Fronds somewhat dimorphic, the fertile ones taller, narrower, more erect, herbaceous, deciduous. Stipe 8-30 cm long, dark brown to more straw-coloured apically, shallowly grooved above, swollen or not at base, densely scaly at base, becoming subglabrous with age. Lamina deeply 2-pinnatifid to almost 2-pinnate on the basal pinnae, oblong-lanceolate in outline, apex gradually tapering to a point, sometimes slightly narrowed toward base, 22-40 x 13-26 cm; pinnae 12 to 16 pairs, lanceolate to linear-lanceolate in outline, apex gradually tapering to a point, to 12 x 2.5 cm, halfway or deeply pinnatifid; lobes oblong-falcate in outline, apex rounded to pointed, margin with irregular blunt teeth, both surfaces with scattered, minute, twisted, whitish scales along the veins and costae, also on the rhachis; costae grooved above, discontinuous with the rhachis; veins free. Sori 8-16 per lobe, on veins, arranged generally in a herringbone pattern, linear, 2-3.5(5) mm long; indusium linear, persistent, brown, entire, membranous.




japonica: Japanese.


Damp, mossy rocks, often next to a stream or on wet earth banks in shade in evergreen forest; occasionally in wattle plantations.

Distribution worldwide

Polynesia, Malaysia, Vietnam, China, Korea, Japan, eastern Siberia, New Zealand, Australia, Thailand, India, South africa and Swaziland.

Distribution in Africa

South Africa, Swaziland.

Growth form

Lithophytic, terrestrial.


  • Burrows, J.E. (1990) Southern African Ferns and Fern Allies. Frandsen, Sandton. Pages 274 - 276. (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 712 - 713. (Includes a picture).
  • Jacobsen, W.B.G. (1983) The Ferns and Fern Allies of Southern Africa. Butterworths, Durban and Pretoria. Pages 406 - 408. As Lunathyrium japonicum (Thunb.) Kurata (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 216.
  • Stuart, T. (2004-) Hardy Fern Library. Published on the internet: Page 0. (Includes a picture).