Asplenium - Aspleniaceae

Asplenium loxoscaphoides Baker

Photo: JE. Burrows






Asplenium loxoscaphoides Baker var. compacta Bonap.

Common name


Rhizome erect, fleshy, to 60 mm long and 8–50 mm diameter; rhizome scales pale to mid-brown, subentire, ovate in outline, pointed, up to 14 x 3.5 mm. Fronds tufted, erect to arching, not proliferous, thinly to thickly coriaceous. Stipe pale brown to greyish-green when dry (green to black when fresh), 15–48 cm long, glabrous except for some scales near base. Lamina dark green, narrowly ovate in outline, 32–80 x 13–26 cm, 2- to 3-pinnatifid on the lowermost pinnules, with basal pinnae reduced (rarely not reduced), apex gradually decrescent. Pinnae 23–44 pairs, opposite or alternate, oblong in outline, apex gradually tapering to a point, the largest (6–)8–13(–16) x 1–2.2 cm or up to 4 cm wide with much-lobed basal pinnules, petiolate, more basal pinnae often shorter and with more widely winged costa and so appearing more pinnatipartite than the pinnatisect upper pinnae, surfaces with scattered scales similar to those on rachis. Ultimate segments linear or very narrowly spatulate, set at 45°, 1–2 mm wide, entire or bifid, basal acroscopic segment usually more lobed or enlarged to an up to 2.5 cm long deeply lobed pinnule, apices pointed or rounded. Rhachis black and green when fresh, pale brown when dry, with scattered dark brown narrowly lanceolate scales to 3 mm long with hair-like lobes, sometimes becoming glabrous. Sori 1 per pinna lobe, ellipsoid, borne halfway along the length of the lobe but almost on the margin, facing towards the pinna apex, 1.5–5(–6) mm long; indusium very narrowly oblong, membranous, entire, to 1 mm wide.


Very similar to A. rutifolium which has rhizome scales that are darker, smaller (up to 9 x 1.2mm) and narrowly triangular in outline. A. rutifolium is a smaller species (lamina up to 40 x 10 cm) with less pinnae (13-28 pairs).



Montane forest, bamboo zone, cedar forest, Hagenia woodland, gianth heath zone, rock crevices.

Distribution worldwide

See African distribution.

Distribution in Africa

Kenya, Malawi, Rwanda, Tanzania , Uganda.

Growth form

Epiphytic, lithophytic, terrestrial.


  • Beentje, H.J. (2008) Aspleniaceae.Flora of Tropical East Africa, Page 57.
  • Fisher, E. & Lobin, W. (2023) Synoptic Revision of Aspleniaceae (Asplenium, Hymenasplenium) of Rwanda. Magnolia Press, New Zealand. Pages 19 - 21. (Includes a picture).
  • Roux, J.P. (2001) Conspectus of Southern African Pteridophyta.Southern African Botanical Diversity Network Report, 13 Page 167.
  • 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 90.
  • Schelpe, E.A.C.L.E. (1970) Pteridophyta.Flora Zambesiaca, 0 Page 187.