Polystichum luctuosum (Kunze) T. Moore

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Synonyms: Aspidium luctuosum Kunze
Common names:
Status: Native
Rhizome suberect; rhizome scales up to 15 × 2 mm, margin entire, shiny, dark brown, narrowly lanceolate. Fronds tufted, arching, firmly herbaceous to coriaceous. Stipe up to 30 cm long, pale to mid-brown, with dark brown to almost black scales of two kinds. Lamina lanceolate to narrowly ovate in outline, 2-pinnate to 2-pinnatifid, with basal pinnae not or only slightly reduced, up to 45 × 19 cm. Pinnae 12-15 pairs, shortly petiolate, alternate, narrowly oblong-lanceolate, somewhat falcate, pinnate to pinnatifid. Pinnules ovate to oblong, obtuse, margins serrate-aristate, base unequally cuneate, upper surface subglabrous, lower surface set with scattered hair-like scales; acroscopic basal pinnule enlarged, parallel to the rhachis. Rhachis pale brown with black hairlike scales. Sori small, round, c.1 mm in diameter; indusia round, entire, membranous, dark brown with pale margins.
Notes: This fern has dark scales on the stipe and rhachis, the fronds are compact and have a leathery texture.
Derivation of specific name: luctuosum: sorrowful, mourning; hinting at the blackened appearance of the fronds due to the black scales on the stipe and rhachis.
Habitat: In dark shady ravines, along streams in evergreen or semideciduous forest, in riverine forest; often on dolomitic limestones.
Altitude range: (metres) 600 - 2000 m
Worldwide distribution: Lesotho, Madagascar, Réunion, South Africa, Eswatini, Zimbabwe
Zimbabwe distribution: E
Growth form(s): Lithophyte, terrestrial.
Endemic status:
Red data list status:
Insects associated with this species:
Spot characters: Display spot characters for this species

Burrows, J.E. (1990). Southern African Ferns and Fern Allies. Frandsen, Sandton. Pages 317 - 318. (Includes a picture).

Chapano, C. & Mamuto, M. (2003). Plants of the Chimanimani District National Herbarium and Botanic Garden, Zimbabwe Page 45.

Crouch, N.R., Klopper, R.R., Burrows, J.E. & Burrows, S.M. (2011). Ferns of Southern Africa, A comprehensive guide Struik Nature Pages 466 - 467. (Includes a picture).

Jacobsen, W.B.G. (1983). The Ferns and Fern Allies of Southern Africa. Butterworths, Durban and Pretoria. Pages 444 - 445. (Includes a picture).

Mapaura, A. & Timberlake, J. (eds) (2004). A checklist of Zimbabwean vascular plants Southern African Botanical Diversity Network Report No. 33 Sabonet, Pretoria and Harare Page 6.

Roux, J.P. (2001). Conspectus of Southern African Pteridophyta. Southern African Botanical Diversity Network Report 13 Page 129.

Roux, J.P. (2009). Synopsis of the Lycopodiophyta and Pteridophyta of Africa, Madagascar and neighbouring islands Page 137.

Schelpe, E.A.C.L.E. (1970). Pteridophyta Flora Zambesiaca Page 228. (Includes a picture).

Other sources of information about Polystichum luctuosum:

External websites:

African Plants: A Photo Guide (Senckenberg): Polystichum luctuosum
African Plant Database: Polystichum luctuosum
BHL (Biodiversity Heritage Library): Polystichum luctuosum
EOL (Encyclopedia of Life): Polystichum luctuosum
GBIF (Global Biodiversity Information Facility): Polystichum luctuosum
Google: Web - Images - Scholar
iNaturalist: Polystichum luctuosum
IPNI (International Plant Names Index): Polystichum luctuosum
JSTOR Plant Science: Polystichum luctuosum
Mansfeld World Database of Agricultural and Horticultural Crops: Polystichum luctuosum
Plants of the World Online: Polystichum luctuosum
Tropicos: Polystichum luctuosum
Wikipedia: Polystichum luctuosum

Copyright: Mark Hyde, Bart Wursten, Petra Ballings and Meg Coates Palgrave, 2002-23

Hyde, M.A., Wursten, B.T., Ballings, P. & Coates Palgrave, M. (2023). Flora of Zimbabwe: Species information: Polystichum luctuosum.
https://www.zimbabweflora.co.zw/speciesdata/species.php?species_id=101910, retrieved 23 September 2023

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