Adiantum - Adiantaceae

Adiantum capillus-veneris L.

Photo: P. Ballings
Zimbabwe

Photo: BT. Wursten
Zimbabwe

Photo: P. Ballings
Zimbabwe

Photo: P. Ballings
Zimbabwe

Photo: P. Ballings
Zimbabwe

 

 

 

 

Synonyms

Adiantum capillus Sw., nom. illegit.
Adiantum capillus-veneris L. var. kenyense Chiov.
Adiantum fontanum Salisb., nom. illegit.
Adiantum coriandrifolium Lam., nom. illegit.
Adiantum marginatum Schrad.
Adiantum pseudocapillus Fée
Adiantum paradisea Baker
Adiantum capillus-veneris L. var. pinnata Bonap.

Common name

Maidenhair fern

Description

Rhizome creeping, 2-8 mm in diameter; rhizome scales brown, awl-shaped, c. 3 mm long, entire, tip gradually tapering to a point. Fronds closely spaced, herbaceous, glabrous, erect or arching. Stipe up to 25 cm long, thin, wiry, dark brown to purplish black, shining, glabrous. Lamina 2-3 pinnate, pinnate near the apex, triangular to ovate-deltate in outline, 20 × 18 cm. Rhachis and stalks black, shiny, glabrous. Pinnules persistent, 0.8-2.5cm long × 0.6-2.8 cm wide, wedge-shaped with straight sides, entire to deeply incised on the outer margin into narrow lobes. Lobes with outer margin minutely toothed, veins ending in the marginal serrations. Sori 2-6, 1-2 mm long, 1-5 mm wide, beneath pinnule lobes on the undersurface of deflexed, membranous, oblong or slightly curved pale brown, glabrous indusial flaps.

Notes

A. capillus-veneris is 2-3 pinnate. It can be distinguished from similar species (A. poiretii or A. raddianum) by having oblong or lunulate sori and veins of the pinnules that end in the teeth of the serrations of the outer margins.

Derivation

capillus-veneris: hair of venus

Habitat

Terrestrial or lithophytic, on moist cliff faces, on boulders and along streams or moist ditches, in low-altitude woodland or medium-altitude riverine forest, exposed or shaded. Very occasional epiphytic on trees in spray of waterfalls.

Distribution worldwide

Widespread in Africa, with the exception of West Africa. Throughout tropical, sub-tropical and warmer-temperate regions in the rest of the world.

Distribution in Africa

Algeria, Angola, Botswana, Chad, Democratic Republic of Congo, Djibouti, Egypt, Ethiopia, Kenya, Lesotho, Libya, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Morocco and Western Sahara, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, Rwanda, Somalia, South Africa, Sudan and South Sudan, Swaziland, Tanzania , Tunesia, Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe.

Growth form

Lithophytic, terrestrial.

Literature

  • Burrows, J.E. (1990) Southern African Ferns and Fern Allies. Frandsen, Sandton. Page 123. (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 430 - 431. (Includes a picture).
  • Jacobsen, W.B.G. (1983) The Ferns and Fern Allies of Southern Africa. Butterworths, Durban and Pretoria. Pages 228 - 230. (Includes a picture).
  • Kornas, J. (1979) Distribution and ecology of the Pteridophytes in Zambia. Polska Akademia Nauk Wydzial II Nauk Biologicznych. Page 62.
  • Roux, J.P. (2001) Conspectus of Southern African Pteridophyta. Southern African Botanical Diversity Network Report, 13 Page 74.
  • 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 68 - 69.
  • Schelpe, E.A.C.L.E. (1970) Pteridophyta. Flora Zambesiaca, 0 Page 112. (Includes a picture).
  • Verdcourt, B. (2002) Adiantaceae. Flora of Tropical East Africa, Pages 61 - 62. (Includes a picture).
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