Asplenium capense (Kunze) Bir, Fraser-Jenk. & Lovis

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Synonyms: Ceterach capense Kunze
Ceterach cordatum (Thunb.) Desv. var. capense (Spreng. ex Kaulf.) Hieron ex Kümmerle
Common names:
Status: Native
Rhizome erect or procumbent, c.4 mm in diameter, scales brown, lanceolate, margin paler sometimes toothed. Fronds not proliferous, tufted, erect to suberect. Stipe short, up to 60 mm long, chestnut to dark chestnut brown; scales shining, narrowly triangular, with rust-red central region and broad light margins, c. 5 mm long. Lamina 8-19 × 2-5 cm, pinnatisect to pinnate (sometimesshallowly 2-pinnatifid), elliptic to obovate in outline, herbaceous, inrolled when dry; basal pinnae gradually decrescent. Pinnae attached to the rhachis with the base prolonged down to the rhachis towards the lamina apex, becoming free from the rhachis with a somewhat flared auriculate-heartshaped base at the frond base, ovate-oblong, margins uneven or with rounded incisions, apex rounded at the tip, undersurface very sparsely covered with scales; scales like stipe scales, deltate to lanceolate, up to 1.5 mm long. Rhachis somewhat winged apically, not winged between widely spaced pinnae basally; scales like stipe scales, 4 mm long. Sori linear, 3-6 mm long becoming confluent at maturity, visible, exindusiate.
Notes: Untill recently this species was included within the broad concept for A. cordatum which in Zimbabwe was only found in Nyanga area. A. capense itself is restricted to South Africa, A. cordatum and A. phillipsianum occur in Zimbabwe.
Confusion possible with A. cordatum which has a more incised lamina, petiolate pinnae, a rhachis that is not winged and sori that are obscured by dense scale covering. A. capense can be distinguished from A. phillipsianum: A. capense has a rhachis that is only winged apically (throughout in A. phillipsianum), the pinnae are adnate apically & petiolate basally (adnate throughout in A. phillipsianum) and the sori are less long.
Derivation of specific name: capense: pertaining to the Cape
Habitat: Usually associated with riparian or open forest; it grows in sandy soil close to streams and under trees on steep damp earth banks.
Altitude range: (metres)
Worldwide distribution: South Africa, extending sporadically to central and tropical East Africa.
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

Crouch, N.R., Klopper, R.R., Burrows, J.E. & Burrows, S.M. (2011). Ferns of Southern Africa, A comprehensive guide Struik Nature Pages 584 - 585. (Includes a picture).

Roux, J.P. (2009). Synopsis of the Lycopodiophyta and Pteridophyta of Africa, Madagascar and neighbouring islands Page 81.

Other sources of information about Asplenium capense:

External websites:

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

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: Asplenium capense., retrieved 25 May 2024

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