Hymenophyllum - Hymenophyllaceae

Hymenophyllum kuhnii C. Chr.

Photo: P. Ballings

Photo: P. Ballings

Photo: P. Ballings

Photo: P. Ballings

Photo: P. Ballings

Photo: P. Ballings






Hymenophyllum polyanthos (Sw.) Sw. var. kuhnii (C. Chr.) Schelpe
Hymenophyllum henkelii Sim
Hymenophyllum meyeri Kuhn
Mecodium kuhnii (C.Chr.) Copel.

Common name


Rhizome wiry and thin, widely creeping, set with persistent ventrally attached hairs. Fronds spaced apart. Stipe up to 6 cm long, without hairs, narrowly winged. Lamina usually oblong to narrowly elliptic in outline, 3-60 × 1.5-7 cm, 2- or 3-pinnatifid, finely dissected into up to 100-180 lobes per pinnae, hairless. Ultimate lobes set close together or overlappinglinear, apices rounded, margin entire. Rhachis winged. Sori along the costae of the pinnae on the innermost lobes, several per pinna, broadly obconic to rounded in shape, soral valves entire.


Can be separated from other species by having hairless fronds and entire lobe margins. Can be distinguished from H. capense by having pinnae that are composed of more than 15 lobes. Can be separated from H. mossambicense by having a rhizome that has persistent ventrally attached hairs and ultimate lobes that are set close together or overlapping.


kuhnii: named after Maximillian Kuhn a German physician and botanist.


Epiphyte in shaded, moist, high-altitude evergreen forest.

Distribution worldwide

East, central and west Africa, south-central Africa (according to Crouch et al. not in South Africa). Also Madagascar.

Distribution in Africa

Angola, Cameroon, Democratic Republic of Congo, Equatorial Guinea (incl. Bioko), Gabon, Guinea, Kenya, Liberia, Malawi, Mozambique, Nigeria, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Tanzania , Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe.

Growth form

Epiphytic, lithophytic.


  • Burrows, J.E. (1990) Southern African Ferns and Fern Allies. Frandsen, Sandton. Page 97. (Includes a picture).
  • Jacobsen, W.B.G. (1983) The Ferns and Fern Allies of Southern Africa. Butterworths, Durban and Pretoria. Pages 196 - 197. (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. Pages 45 - 46.
  • Roux, J.P. (2001) Conspectus of Southern African Pteridophyta. Southern African Botanical Diversity Network Report, 13 Page 43.
  • Schelpe, E.A.C.L.E. (1970) Pteridophyta. Flora Zambesiaca, 0 Pages 79 - 80. (Includes a picture).