Abrodictyum - Hymenophyllaceae

Abrodictyum rigidum (Sw.) Ebihara & Dubuisson

Photo: P. Ballings

Photo: P. Ballings

Photo: P. Ballings

Photo: P. Ballings






Trichomanes rigidum Sw.
Cephalomanes rigidum (Sw.) K.Iwats.
Selenodesmium rigidum (Sw.) Copel.

Common name


Fronds tufted, erect to pendant. Rhizome shortly creeping to suberect, c. 3 mm in diameter, covered with dark brown hairs. Stipe up to 22 cm long, with a few small scales near the base. Lamina up to 24 × 13 cm, 3-4 pinnatifid, narrowly ovate to lanceolate in outline, membranous but tough and leathery. Pinnae uniformly developed, ultimate lobes narrowly linear, attenuate, glabrous on both surfaces. Rhachis winged distally. Sori c. 1.5 × 0.7 mm, narrowly conical, borne near the costules of the pinnules on the acroscopic side, not winged; receptacles long, persistent, extruding beyond the sori valves.


A. rigidum has a stiff, upright habit and finely divided fronds, this makes it easy to distinguish from other Hymenophyllaceae.


rigidum: rigid, stiff; the fronds of this species are erect and tough


Lithophytic in deeply shaded, continually moist boulders and earth-banks in evergreen forest, along streams and in the spray of or close to waterfalls and rapids. Always in very dark and continually wet areas.

Distribution worldwide

Tropical and Southern Africa, also known from the Indian Ocean islands, South and Central America and the West Indies.

Distribution in Africa

Angola, Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Congo, Democratic Republic of Congo, Equatorial Guinea (incl. Bioko), Gabon, Ghana, Guinea, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Liberia, Malawi, Mozambique, Nigeria, Rwanda, Swaziland, Tanzania , Zambia, Zimbabwe.

Growth form

Lithophytic, terrestrial.


  • Burrows, J.E. (1990) Southern African Ferns and Fern Allies. Frandsen, Sandton. Pages 90 - 92. (Includes a picture).
  • Crouch, N.R., Klopper, R.R., Burrows, J.E. & Burrows, S.M. (2011) Ferns of Southern Africa, A comprehensive guide. Struik Nature. Pages 148 - 149. (Includes a picture).
  • Jacobsen, W.B.G. (1983) The Ferns and Fern Allies of Southern Africa. Butterworths, Durban and Pretoria. Pages 190 - 191. (Includes a picture).
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  • 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 38.
  • Roux, J.P. (2001) Conspectus of Southern African Pteridophyta. Southern African Botanical Diversity Network Report, 13 Page 48. (Includes a picture).
  • Schelpe, E.A.C.L.E. (1970) Pteridophyta. Flora Zambesiaca, 0 Page 78. (Includes a picture).