Ophioglossum - Ophioglossaceae

Ophioglossum vulgatum L. ssp. africanum Pocock ex J.E. Burrows var. taylorianum J.E. Burrows






Common name


Rhizome short, linear to oval, c. 1.4-3 cm long; old leaf bases absent; roots descending or horizontal, proliferous. Leaves 1 or 2, dull green. Petiole up to 7.5 cm long, subterranean for 25-40 % of its length. Sterile lamina 45-60 × 12-20 mm, narrowly elliptic to sublanceolate in outline, apex pointed, base wedge-shaped; fertile segment 9-12.5 cm long, arising from the base of the sterile lamina; Sporangia 30-40 pairs.



vulgatum: common; africanum: of Africa; taylorianum: named after Peter Taylor, Kew botanist.


Shallow sandy soils in deciduous Brachystegia/Julbernardia woodland, often near seasonally moist depressions.

Distribution worldwide

See African distribution.

Distribution in Africa

Tanzania , Zimbabwe.

Growth form



  • Burrows, J.E. (1999) Two new taxa of Ophioglossum from Tropical Africa.Bothalia, 29 (1) Pages 110 - 112. (Includes a picture).
  • Burrows, J.E. & Johns, R.J. (2001) Ophioglossaceae. Flora of Tropical East Africa, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew . Pages 15 - 17.
  • Roux, J.P. (2001) Conspectus of Southern African Pteridophyta.Southern African Botanical Diversity Network Report, 13 Page 34.
  • 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 35.