Ophioglossum rubellum Welw. ex A.Braun

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Ophioglossum rubellum

Picture: Petra Ballings

Ophioglossum rubellum

Picture: Petra Ballings

Ophioglossum rubellum

Picture: Petra Ballings

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Species details: Click on each item to see an explanation of that item (Note: opens a new window)

Common names:
Frequency: Rare
Status: Native
Rhizome pear-shaped to rounded or narrowly oval, 3-11 × 2-4 mm, old leaf-bases absent; roots dense, descending, wiry. Leaves mostly 2 (1-3), held at 20° from the horizontal or appressed to the ground, dark green often with a reddish to orange coloration. Petiole up to 2 cm long, subterranean for most of its length (75-90%). Sterile lamina up to 17 × 10 mm, elliptic to broadly ovate in outline, apex pointed to sometimes rounded, base wedge-shaped to truncate, with an apparent pale pseudo-midrib formed towards the base of the lamina only; fertile segment up to 7.2 cm long, inserted at the base of the lamina. Sporangia 5-15 pairs, apex pointed.
Type location:
Notes: Could be mistaken for O. costatum which usually has dull green leaves that are held at 60-80° of the ground and a prominent pale pseudo-midrib. O. convexum has linear dull green leaves held at 0-30% from the horizontal, the pale pseudo-midrib is absent.
Derivation of specific name: rubellum: reddish; referring to the reddish to orange coloration present in the leaves.
Habitat: Seasonally moist sandy soils or peat, in dambos and seepage areas over rocky outcrops, apparently in open situations.
Altitude range: 1160 - 1740 m
Worldwide distribution: Angola, Central african Republic, Ethiopia, Gabon, Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe.
Zambian distribution (Flora Zambesiaca): N
Zambian distribution (Provinces): N
Growth form(s): 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. Page 47. (Includes a picture).

Burrows, J.E. & Burrows, S.M. (1993). An annotated check-list of the pteridophytes of Malawi Kirkia 14(1) Page 81.

Burrows, J.E. & Willis, C.K. (eds) (2005). Plants of the Nyika Plateau Southern African Botanical Diversity Network Report No. 31 SABONET, Pretoria Page 36.

Crouch, N.R., Klopper, R.R., Burrows, J.E. & Burrows, S.M. (2011). Ferns of Southern Africa, A comprehensive guide Struik Nature Pages 126 - 127. (Includes a picture).

Kornas, J. (1979). Distribution and ecology of the Pteridophytes in Zambia Polska Akademia Nauk Wydzial II Nauk Biologicznych Page 38.

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 8.

Roux, J.P. (2001). Conspectus of Southern African Pteridophyta. Southern African Botanical Diversity Network Report 13 Page 34.

Roux, J.P. (2009). Synopsis of the Lycopodiophyta and Pteridophyta of Africa, Madagascar and neighbouring islands Page 35.

Schelpe, E.A.C.L.E. (1970). Pteridophyta Flora Zambesiaca Page 35. (Includes a picture).

Other sources of information about Ophioglossum rubellum:

Our websites:

Flora of Malawi: Ophioglossum rubellum
Flora of Mozambique: Ophioglossum rubellum
Flora of Zimbabwe: Ophioglossum rubellum

External websites:

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

Copyright: Mike Bingham, Annette Willemen, Bart Wursten, Petra Ballings and Mark Hyde, 2011-24

Bingham, M.G., Willemen, A., Wursten, B.T., Ballings, P. and Hyde, M.A. (2024). Flora of Zambia: Species information: Ophioglossum rubellum.
https://www.zambiaflora.com/speciesdata/species.php?species_id=100340, retrieved 24 February 2024

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