Athyrium newtonii Baker

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Athyrium newtonii

Photo: Petra Ballings
Chimanimani, Tessa's pool

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Synonyms: Asplenium filix-femina sensu Sim
Asplenium laxum (Pappe & Rawson) Kuhn
Athyrium laxum Pappe & Rawson
Athyrium scandicinum (Willd.) C.Presl var. rhodesianum Schelpe
Athyrium scandicinum (Willd.) C.Presl subsp. newtonii (Baker) Verdc.
Common names:
Status: Native
Rhizome erect, usually up to 5 mm in diameter, sometimes forming a small caudex of 15 × 1.5(4) cm; rhizome scales pale brown, lanceolate, entire, up to 7 mm long. Fronds tufted, arching, herbaceous. Stipe straw coloured, up to 50 cm long, about half as long as the lamina, glabrous above, sparsely set with scales similar to those on the rhizome towards the base. Lamina narrowly ovate-lanceolate in outline, 22-60 cm × 12.5-35 cm, 3-pinnatifid to 3-pinnate, basal pinnae slightly or not reduced in size. Pinnae 9-18 pairs, opposite to alternate, set at 90° to the rhachis, lanceolate in outline, apex shortly tapering to a point; basiscopic pinnules slightly longer throughout the lamina. Pinnules bluntly ovate-deltate, about twice as long as broad, glabrous on both surfaces, margin deeply pinnatifid to serrate lobes, with acroscopic lobes more developed. Rhachis pale brown, hairless but with few hairlike scales at the pinna junction above. Sori up to 1(2) mm long, elongate, curved or J-shaped; indusium brown, subentire.
Notes: Could be confused with A. schimperi, which is a grassland species with a creeping rhizome and basal pinnae that are obviously reduced.
Derivation of specific name: newtonii: named after Francisco X.O. de A. Newton (1864-1909)who collected the type specimen from West Africa.
Habitat: Deep shade on wet forest floors and on rocks in streambanks and at waterfalls.
Altitude range: (metres) 1100 - 2075 m
Worldwide distribution: Central and tropical Africa to eastern South Africa, Madagascar.
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
Images last updated: Saturday 17 August 2013

Burrows, J.E. (1990). Southern African Ferns and Fern Allies. Frandsen, Sandton. Pages 273 - 274. As A. scandicinum var. scandicinum and var. rhodesianum (Includes a picture).

Burrows, J.E. & Burrows, S.M. (1993). An annotated check-list of the pteridophytes of Malawi Kirkia 14(1) Page 96.

Chapano, C. & Mamuto, M. (2003). Plants of the Chimanimani District National Herbarium and Botanic Garden, Zimbabwe Page 8. As Athyrium scandicinum

Crouch, N.R., Klopper, R.R., Burrows, J.E. & Burrows, S.M. (2011). Ferns of Southern Africa, A comprehensive guide Struik Nature Pages 716 - 717. (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 16. as Athyrium scandicinum

Jacobsen, W.B.G. (1983). The Ferns and Fern Allies of Southern Africa. Butterworths, Durban and Pretoria. Pages 404 - 406. As A. scandicinum var. scandicinum and var. rhodesianum (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 10. As A. scandicinum (Willd.) C. Presl

Roux, J.P. (2001). Conspectus of Southern African Pteridophyta. Southern African Botanical Diversity Network Report 13 Page 137. As A. scandicinum (Willd.) C. Presl (Includes a picture).

Roux, J.P. (2009). Synopsis of the Lycopodiophyta and Pteridophyta of Africa, Madagascar and neighbouring islands Page 214.

Schelpe, E.A.C.L.E. (1970). Pteridophyta Flora Zambesiaca Page 204. As A. scandicinum var. scandicinum and var. rhodesianum (Includes a picture).

Wursten, B., Timberlake, J. & Darbyshire, I. (2017). The Chimanimani Mountains: an updated checklist. Kirkia 19(1) Page 80.

Other sources of information about Athyrium newtonii:

Our websites:

Flora of Caprivi: cultivated Athyrium newtonii
Flora of Malawi: Athyrium newtonii
Flora of Mozambique: Athyrium newtonii

External websites:

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

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: Athyrium newtonii., retrieved 24 May 2024

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