Microlepia - Dennstaedtiaceae

Microlepia speluncae (L.) T. Moore

Photo: P. Ballings
Zimbabwe

Photo: P. Ballings
Zimbabwe

Photo: BT. Wursten
Mozambique

Photo: BT. Wursten
Mozambique

 

 

 

 

Synonyms

Polypodium speluncae L.
Aspidium speluncae (L.) Willd.
Davallia speluncae (L.) Baker

Common name

Description

Rhizome widely creeping, branched, 5-10 mm diameter; rhizome hairs few, pale, up to 4 mm long. Fronds widely spaced, membranous. Stipe up to 1 m long, brown, glabrous at maturity. Lamina yellow-green, 0.4-1.8 × 0.1-1.4 m, 3-4(-5) pinnatifid, triangular to ovate in outline. Pinnae alternate, narrowly oblong to oblong-lanceolate, up to 60 x 21 cm, 2–3-pinnate to 2–3-pinnatifid, acute; pinnules alternate, up to 13 x 6 cm; ultimate segments oblong-lanceolate, 4-12 x 3-4 mm, with rounded apex and lobed margins, both surfaces and costules with soft short hairs. Rhachis thinly set with minute soft hairs, eventually glabrous. Sori 2-10(-20) per segment, circular, 1 mm diameter, intramarginal, situated at the end of the veins, which shows as a hydathode on the upper surface; indusium cup-shaped and facing outwards.

Notes

It can be distinguished from Hypolepis sparsisora by having a thinly pubescent lamina and pinna that stand in the same plane as the main axis. Microlepia speluncae favours shaded areas whereas Hypolepis sparsisora lives in areas with high-light conditions.

Derivation

speluncae: from spelunca, a cave, referring to the sporangia sheltered in the cup-shaped indusium or less likely to the deeply shaded habitat of this fern.

Habitat

In moist conditions in semi-deciduous forest, evergreen forest, swamp forest and marshes, mostly in shaded habitats.

Distribution worldwide

Widespread in Africa, also in the Madagascan region, pantropical.

Distribution in Africa

Angola, Botswana, Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Congo, Democratic Republic of Congo, Equatorial Guinea (incl. Bioko), Ethiopia, Gabon, Ghana, Guinea, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Liberia, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Sudan and South Sudan, Swaziland, Tanzania , Togo, Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe.

Growth form

Terrestrial.

Literature

  • Burrows, J.E. (1990) Southern African Ferns and Fern Allies. Frandsen, Sandton. Page 106. (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 282 - 283. (Includes a picture).
  • Jacobsen, W.B.G. (1983) The Ferns and Fern Allies of Southern Africa. Butterworths, Durban and Pretoria. Pages 210 - 211. (Includes a picture).
  • Kornas, J. (1979) Distribution and ecology of the Pteridophytes in Zambia. Polska Akademia Nauk Wydzial II Nauk Biologicznych. Pages 81 - 82.
  • Roux, J.P. (2001) Conspectus of Southern African Pteridophyta. Southern African Botanical Diversity Network Report, 13 Page 89. (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 111.
  • Schelpe, E.A.C.L.E. (1970) Pteridophyta. Flora Zambesiaca, 0 Pages 89 - 92. (Includes a picture).
  • Verdcourt, B. (1999) Dennstaedtiaceae. Flora of Tropical East Africa, Pages 2 - 4. (Includes a picture).
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