Adiantum - Adiantaceae

Adiantum soboliferum Hook.

Photo: NR. Crouch

Photo: NR. Crouch

Photo: NR. Crouch

Photo: NR. Crouch

Photo: NR. Crouch






Adiantum mettenii Kuhn
Adiantum balansae Baker
Adiantum alatum Copel.
Adiantum alatum Peter

Common name


Rhizome short, erect; rhizome scales subulate, up to 3mm long, dark brown with paler margins. Fronds monomorphic, tufted, arching, sometimes rooting at the tip (proliferous), 10-40 cm long, membranous. Stipe 8-10 cm long, castaneous to almost black, with two narrow pale wings over its entire length, glabrous. Lamina pinnate, lanceolate in outline, 15-30 × 6.5 cm, excluding a glabrous extension of the rhachis of varying length, which often ends in a proliferous bud or lamina with a terminal pinna; pinnae numerous, alternate, persistent, oblong-rhombic but reduced and obcuneate towards the apex of the frond, 1.5-3.5 × 1.5-2.5 cm, the midrib forms the lower margin, outer and upper margin irregurly incised into truncate, rounded lobes, hairless on both surfaces; rhachis winged and hairless; stalklets 1-3 (-6)mm, narrowly winged and hairless. Sori elongate on apices of the pinna lobes, indusial flap linear, up to 0.8 x 5 mm long, hairless.


A. soboliferum is pinnate, has a rhachis that is not hairy and short petiolules. It resembles A. lunulatum and A. mendoncae, they do not have a winged stipe & rhachis.


soboliferum: producing soboles or shoots that form new plants.


On earthbanks in wet forests and at shaded boulder bases.

Distribution worldwide

Wide distribution: from Philippines over Indo-China and India to tropical Africa, Malagasy and the Comoro Islands.

Distribution in Africa

Angola, Central African Republic, Congo, Dem. Republic of Congo, Ghana, Mozambique, Tanzania , Uganda.

Growth form



  • Jacobsen, W.B.G. (1983) The Ferns and Fern Allies of Southern Africa. Butterworths, Durban and Pretoria. Pages 224 - 225. As Adiantum mettenii Kuhn (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 71.
  • Roux, J.P. (2001) Conspectus of Southern African Pteridophyta.Southern African Botanical Diversity Network Report, 13 Page 75. As Adiantum mettenii Kuhn
  • Schelpe, E.A.C.L.E. (1970) Pteridophyta.Flora Zambesiaca, 0 Page 110. As Adiantum mettenii Kuhn (Includes a picture).
  • Verdcourt, B. (2002) Adiantaceae.Flora of Tropical East Africa, Pages 56 - 57.