Elaphoglossum spathulatum (Bory) T. Moore
var. spathulatum

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Elaphoglossum spathulatum var. spathulatum

Photo: Petra Ballings
Path to spice garden, Nyamkombe River, Aberfoyle, Honde Valley

Elaphoglossum spathulatum var. spathulatum

Photo: Petra Ballings
Aberfoyle Tea Estate, Honde Valley

Elaphoglossum spathulatum var. spathulatum

Photo: Petra Ballings
Mermaids Falls, Aberfoyle

Elaphoglossum spathulatum var. spathulatum

Photo: Petra Ballings
Mermaids Falls, Aberfoyle

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Synonyms: Acrostichum spathulatum Bory
Olfersia spathulatum (Bory) C. Presl.
Common names:
Status: Native
Rhizome short creeping to suberect, c. 3 mm in diameter; rhizome scales pale brown, narrowly lanceolate, entire, apex forming a long drawn out point, up to 4 mm long. Fronds simple, clustered, firmly herbaceous, erect, strongly dimorphous with the fertile fronds longer than the sterile fronds. Stipe of sterile fronds 0.4-1.8 cm long, of fertile fronds 2.5-4.6 cm, thin, densely set with almost hair-like, entire, pale brown scales up to 2 mm long. Sterile lamina 1-2 × 0.35-0.9 cm, narrowly oblanceolate to spathulate, apex rounded, base wedge-shaped and long decurrent, scales of the type of the stipe on both surfaces. Fertile lamina 0.8-1.2 × 0.6-0.85 cm, broadly elliptic to circular, base hardly decurrent, upper surface scaly as the sterile lamina, lower surface completely covered by sporangia, the two halves of the lamina often folded tightly along the midrib over the sporangia and sometimes quite difficult to unfold.
Notes: The small size and the distinctive scales on the lamina separate this species from others. E. spathulatum var. uluguruense has a sterile frond lenght > 4 cm and a blade width:lenght ratio 1:>4.
Derivation of specific name: spathulatum: spoonshaped, referring to the shape of the lamina.
Habitat: Lithophytic on moss covered rocks along streams in deep shade of moist evergreen forest or sometimes terrestrial on mossy earth banks near streams.
Altitude range: (metres) 950 - 2590 m
Worldwide distribution: Congo, Kenya, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Réunion, South Africa, Tanzania, Zambia, Zimbabwe; Sri Lanka.
Zimbabwe distribution: N,E
Growth form(s): Lithophyte.
Endemic status:
Red data list status:
Insects associated with this species:
Spot characters: Display spot characters for this species
Images last updated: Saturday 2 June 2012

Burrows, J.E. (1990). Southern African Ferns and Fern Allies. Frandsen, Sandton. Pages 289 - 290. (Includes a picture).

Burrows, J.E. & Willis, C.K. (eds) (2005). Plants of the Nyika Plateau Southern African Botanical Diversity Network Report No. 31 SABONET, Pretoria Page 34. as Elaphoglossum spathulatum

Chapano, C. & Mamuto, M. (2003). Plants of the Chimanimani District National Herbarium and Botanic Garden, Zimbabwe Page 24. As Elaphoglossum spathulatum

Crouch, N.R., Klopper, R.R., Burrows, J.E. & Burrows, S.M. (2011). Ferns of Southern Africa, A comprehensive guide Struik Nature Pages 506 - 507. (Includes a picture).

Da Silva, M.C., Izidine, S. & Amude, A.B. (2004). A preliminary checklist of the vascular plants of Mozambique. Southern African Botanical Diversity Network Report No. 30 Sabonet, Pretoria Page 11. as Elaphoglossum spathulatum

Dowsett-Lemaire, F. (1989). The flora and phytogeography of the evergreen forests of Malawi. I: Afromontane and mid-altitude forests; Bull. Jard. Bot. Nat. Belg. 59(1/2) Page 26. As Elaphoglossum spathulatum

Jacobsen, W.B.G. (1983). The Ferns and Fern Allies of Southern Africa. Butterworths, Durban and Pretoria. Pages 422 - 423. (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 7.

Roux, J.P. (2001). Conspectus of Southern African Pteridophyta. Southern African Botanical Diversity Network Report 13 Page 152.

Roux, J.P. (2009). Synopsis of the Lycopodiophyta and Pteridophyta of Africa, Madagascar and neighbouring islands Page 132.

Schelpe, E.A.C.L.E. (1970). Pteridophyta Flora Zambesiaca Pages 213 - 214.

Other sources of information about Elaphoglossum spathulatum var. spathulatum:

Our websites:

Flora of Malawi: Elaphoglossum spathulatum var. spathulatum
Flora of Mozambique: Elaphoglossum spathulatum var. spathulatum
Flora of Zambia: Elaphoglossum spathulatum var. spathulatum

External websites:

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

Copyright: Mark Hyde, Bart Wursten, Petra Ballings and Meg Coates Palgrave, 2002-24

Hyde, M.A., Wursten, B.T., Ballings, P. & Coates Palgrave, M. (2024). Flora of Zimbabwe: Species information: Elaphoglossum spathulatum var. spathulatum.
https://www.zimbabweflora.co.zw/speciesdata/species.php?species_id=102230, retrieved 22 May 2024

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