Ophioglossum - Ophioglossaceae

Ophioglossum richardsiae J.E. Burrows






Common name


Rhizome fusiform to thickly linear, 7–22 mm long, 1.5–5 mm wide; roots fleshy, horizontal, proliferous. Leaves usually single; stipe (12–)27–69(–100) mm long, 25–40% of its length subterranean, stipe:lamina length ratio 0.5–1.9:1, stipe bases not persistent; lamina dull green, elliptic, narrowly elliptic or lanceolate, fertile lamina somewhat folded along the midline, (22–)28–50(–60) mm long, (6–)8–13(–15) mm wide, length:width ratio 2.5–5.7:1, apex acute, often apiculate, base narrowly cuneate, margins flat; venation linear medially, elongate laterally, with secondary veins and included veinlets confined to the lateral areoles; epidermal cells linear with wavy walls medially, to elongate with sinuous anticlinal walls laterally; stomata partially aligned. Fertile spike (77–)95–115(–140) mm long, fertile spike:lamina length ratio 2–4.1:1, with (9–)12–21(–29) pairs of sporangia. Spores 30–40 µm in equatorial diameter, trilete, the muri often so broad that the lumina are reduced to conical pits, superficially smooth but always minutely undulate (sensuMurley in Stearn 1978).




High rainfall woodland on sandy soils, often overlying sheet-rock.

Distribution worldwide

See African distribution.

Distribution in Africa

Tanzania , Zambia.

Growth form



  • Burrows, J.E. & Johns, R.J. (2001) Ophioglossaceae. Flora of Tropical East Africa, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew . Pages 14 - 15.
  • 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.