Lygodium microphyllum (Cav.) R. Br.

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Lygodium microphyllum

Picture: Bart Wursten
Along Lohulu River, small tributary of Aruwimi, DR Congo © Botanic Garden Meise

Lygodium microphyllum

Picture: Bart Wursten
Along Lohulu River, small tributary of Aruwimi, DR Congo © Botanic Garden Meise

Lygodium microphyllum

Picture: Bart Wursten
Along Lohulu River, small tributary of Aruwimi, DR Congo © Botanic Garden Meise

Lygodium microphyllum

Picture: Bart Wursten
Along Lohulu River, small tributary of Aruwimi, DR Congo © Botanic Garden Meise

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

Synonyms: Lygodium scandens Sw. var. microphyllum (Cav.) Bonap.
Lygodium scandens sensu Hook. & Baker
Ugena microphylla Cav.
Common names:
Status: Native
Climbing fern. Rhizome creeping, rhizome scales linear, blackish-brown. Fronds spaced apart. Stipe and rhachis of an elongated frond function as the climbing stem, from which short secondary rhachises with an opposing pair of pinnae arise, apical bud densely covered with short brown hairs. Pinnae oblong, pinnate, glabrous. Sterile pinnules attenuate, up to 4.5 × 1.3 cm, oblong-lanceolate, base cordate, apex acute to rounded, margins minutely lobed. Fertile pinnules broadly lanceolate to oblong, base square, up to 3.5 × 2.5 cm with numerous protuding fertile lobes, up to 12 mm long; sporangia 10-12 pairs, arranged in 2 rows along the margins.
Type location:
Notes: Differs from L. kerstenii by having glabrous pinnule veins and less divided pinnae (pinnate pinnae).
Derivation of specific name: microphyllum: small-leaved; unclear reference, no parts of the frond are smaller than that of other Lygodium species.
Habitat: Twining climber of moist evergreen forests and riverside forests; in clearings and at edges.
Altitude range: 1000 - 1500 m
Worldwide distribution: South Africa, through Mozambique and up the coast into much of tropical Africa; also in Asia, Australia and Polynesia.
Zambian distribution (Flora Zambesiaca): B,N,W
Zambian distribution (Provinces): Nw,W
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. Pages 60 - 61. (Includes a picture).

Burrows, J.E. & Burrows, S.M. (1993). An annotated check-list of the pteridophytes of Malawi Kirkia 14(1) Page 83.

Crouch, N.R., Klopper, R.R., Burrows, J.E. & Burrows, S.M. (2011). Ferns of Southern Africa, A comprehensive guide Struik Nature Pages 180 - 181. (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 12.

Jacobsen, W.B.G. (1983). The Ferns and Fern Allies of Southern Africa. Butterworths, Durban and Pretoria. Pages 179 - 181. (Includes a picture).

Kornas, J. (1979). Distribution and ecology of the Pteridophytes in Zambia Polska Akademia Nauk Wydzial II Nauk Biologicznych Page 41.

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 50.

Roux, J.P. (2009). Synopsis of the Lycopodiophyta and Pteridophyta of Africa, Madagascar and neighbouring islands Pages 53 - 54.

Schelpe, E.A.C.L.E. (1970). Pteridophyta Flora Zambesiaca Page 57. (Includes a picture).

White, F. (1962). Forest Flora of Northern Rhodesia Oxford Univ. Press. Page 1.

Other sources of information about Lygodium microphyllum:

Our websites:

Flora of Caprivi: cultivated Lygodium microphyllum
Flora of Malawi: Lygodium microphyllum
Flora of Mozambique: Lygodium microphyllum
Flora of Zimbabwe: Lygodium microphyllum

External websites:

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

Copyright: Mike Bingham, Annette Willemen, Bart Wursten, Petra Ballings and Mark Hyde, 2011-23

Bingham, M.G., Willemen, A., Wursten, B.T., Ballings, P. and Hyde, M.A. (2023). Flora of Zambia: Species information: Lygodium microphyllum., retrieved 11 December 2023

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