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Genus Asplenium Family Aspleniaceae

Description: Terrestrial or epiphytic ferns; rhizome usually short-creeping, covered with clathrate scales.

Fronds simple, lobed, or 1–3-pinnate; lamina glabrous or bearing small clathrate scales, sometimes giving rise to proliferous vegetative buds; veins free or sometimes anastomosing near the margin.

Sori oblong to linear; indusium oblong to linear, membranous.


Photo © ANBG

Distribution and occurrence: World: c. 650 species, nearly cosmopolitan. Australia: 30 species, all States.

Text by Peter G. Wilson
Taxon concept:

 Key to the species 
1Fronds simple and undivided, or lobed in the basal region only2
Fronds pinnatifid to pinnate or more compound5
2Fronds sessile or nearly so, simple, entire, 50–180 cm long, 3–21 cm wide forming litter catching rosettes3
Fronds with stipe 4–6 cm long; lamina simple or irregularly lobed at the base, to 35 cm long and 1–5 cm wide
                       Back to 1
Asplenium attenuatum
3Fronds with narrow erect habit, dull green with a glaucous bloom, margin thickened slightly recurved. Endemic to Lord Howe IslandAsplenium goudeyi
Fronds widely spreading, light green, often glossy, margins flat
                       Back to 2
4
4Fronds with lamina abruptly narrowing at the baseAsplenium australasicum
Fronds with lamina long-tapering at the base
                       Back to 3
Asplenium harmanii
5Sori appearing marginal6
Sori superficial
                       Back to 1
9
6Sori 2 or more on each secondary pinna, 2–4 mm long7
Sori solitary on each secondary pinna, 2–7 mm long
                       Back to 5
8
7Mostly epiphytic. Ultimate segments lanceolate >10 mm longAsplenium bulbiferum
Terrestrial. Ultimate segments cuneate rhomboid 1–25 mm long. Rare, endemic to Lord Howe Island
                       Back to 6
Asplenium pteridoides
8Fronds pendant, 1–2 pinnate, pinnae often deeply pinnatisectAsplenium flaccidum
Fronds erect to arching, pinnate, margins of pinnae regularly and deeply divided
                       Back to 6
Asplenium surrogatum
9Fronds either 1-pinnatifid or 1-pinnate then pinnae often toothed but not lobed10
Fronds either 2-pinnate or 1-pinnate then pinnae pinnatifid or pinnatisect
                       Back to 5
14
10Pinnae with long, acuminate apices; rhizome medium creepingAsplenium polyodon
Pinnae with acute to obtuse apices; rhizome very short-creeping or tufted
                       Back to 9
11
11Fronds with lamina thick and almost fleshy; pinnae >20 mm long12
Fronds with lamina thin, not thick or almost fleshy; pinnae <20 mm long
                       Back to 10
13
12Fronds dull pale green; pinnae gradually reducing to a broard elongated terminal pinnule. Confined to coastal habitatsAsplenium obtusatum
Fronds shiny light green; pinnae gradually reduced to a narrow elongated terminal pinnule. Endemic to Lord Howe Island
                       Back to 11
Asplenium milnei
13Fronds weak, procumbent, the rachis often extending beyond the uppermost pinnae, proliferating and rooting close to the apexAsplenium flabellifolium
Fronds erect or almost so, the rachis never exceeding the uppermost pinnae, not proliferous
                       Back to 11
Asplenium trichomanes
14Scales of rhizome c. 15 mm long and >1 mm wide; frond thick, cartilaginous to almost succulentAsplenium difforme
Scales of the rhizome c. 6 mm long and <1 mm wide; laminas never thick and cartilaginous
                       Back to 9
15
15Fronds pale green, membranous and translucent, at least partly 2-pinnate, the second order segments often free and on distinct stalks, apices roundedAsplenium hookerianum
Fronds dark green, leathery, not 2-pinnate, mostly 1-pinnate with pinnae more or less pinnatisect, the second order segments wedge-shaped, notched, never free and stalked
                       Back to 14
Asplenium aethiopicum

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