Lindsaea ensifolia Sw.

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Lindsaea ensifolia

Photo: Petra Ballings

Lindsaea ensifolia

Photo: Petra Ballings

Lindsaea ensifolia

Photo: Petra Ballings

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Synonyms: Lindsaea membranaceae Kunze
Schizolegnia ensifolia (Sw.) Alston
Schizoloma ensifolia (Sw.) J. Sm.
Common names:
Status: Native
Rhizome creeping, c. 1.5-3 mm in diameter; rhizome scales dark brown, lanceolate, with a long drawn out point, up to 2.5 mm long, margins entire. Fronds spaced 1-3 cm apart, erect, herbaceous, glabrous. Stipe brown, shiny, up to 36 cm long, glabrous except for a few scales near the base, grooved. Lamina up to 45 × 22 cm, imparipinnate, roughly oblonceolate in outline; fresh smelling lightly of almonds when crushed. Pinnae 7.5-20 × 0.5-2 cm, narrowly oblong-lanceolate, shortly petiolate, base unequally cuneate, apex shortly tapering to slightly rounded, margin entire to shallowly lobed, veins forming 1-2 rows of areoles along each side of the costa, venation anastomosing. Sori linear, continuous along the fertile pinnae; indusium linear, semitransparent, opening outwards.
Notes: Might superficially look a bit like Pteris cretica which has a shortly creeping rhizome with tufted fronds, pinnae with toothed margins, free veins and an indusium that opens inwards. Pteris cretica does not have a faint almond smell.
Derivation of specific name: ensis: sword, folia: leaves; with swordlike leaves, referring to the long and tapering pinnae.
Habitat: Low-altitude forest, usually in coastal swamp forest, on boggy ground or next to small streams in light shade.
Altitude range: Up to 380 m
Worldwide distribution: Cameroon, Gabon, Ghana, Guinea, Madagascar, Mauritius, Mozambique, Nigeria, Pemba, Réunion, Seychelles, South africa, Tanzania, Zimbabwe and widely throughout southern Asia and the East Indies.
Mozambique distribution: MS
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 182. (Includes a picture).

Chapano, C. & Mamuto, M. (2003). Plants of the Chimanimani District National Herbarium and Botanic Garden, Zimbabwe Page 37.

Crouch, N.R., Klopper, R.R., Burrows, J.E. & Burrows, S.M. (2011). Ferns of Southern Africa, A comprehensive guide Struik Nature Pages 278 - 279. (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 10.

Jacobsen, W.B.G. (1983). The Ferns and Fern Allies of Southern Africa. Butterworths, Durban and Pretoria. Pages 294 - 295. (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 7.

Roux, J.P. (2001). Conspectus of Southern African Pteridophyta. Southern African Botanical Diversity Network Report 13 Page 95. (Includes a picture).

Roux, J.P. (2009). Synopsis of the Lycopodiophyta and Pteridophyta of Africa, Madagascar and neighbouring islands Page 141.

Schelpe, E.A.C.L.E. (1970). Pteridophyta Flora Zambesiaca Page 139. (Includes a picture).

Other sources of information about Lindsaea ensifolia:

Our websites:

Flora of Zimbabwe: Lindsaea ensifolia

External websites:

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

Copyright: Mark Hyde, Bart Wursten, Petra Ballings and Meg Coates Palgrave 2007-23

Hyde, M.A., Wursten, B.T., Ballings, P. & Coates Palgrave, M. (2023). Flora of Mozambique: Species information: Lindsaea ensifolia., retrieved 4 December 2023

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