Psilotum nudum (L.) P. Beauv.

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Psilotum nudum

Photo: Petra Ballings

Psilotum nudum

Photo: Petra Ballings

Psilotum nudum

Photo: Petra Ballings

Psilotum nudum

Photo: Petra Ballings
Area opposite Main Falls, Victoria Falls National Park.

Psilotum nudum

Photo: Petra Ballings
Area opposite Main Falls, Victoria Falls National Park.

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

Synonyms: Bernhardia capensis Müll.Berol.
Lycopodium nudum L.
Psilotum triquetrum Sw.
Common names:
Status: Native
Rhizome c.1.5 mm in diameter, shortly creeping, rootless, covered with very small scales. Aerial stems 15-44 cm long, unbranched below, repeatedly dichotomously branched above with 20-36 branches, markedly angled and triangular in cross-section, glabrous. Leaves few, widely spaced, lanceolate to ovate in outline, scale-like, pointed, up to 2 mm long. Sporangia c.2.5 mm in diameter, united in 3-locular capsule-like synangium, placed in the axis of a small bract, scattered along the apical region of the stem, orange brown when mature, dehiscing longitudinally to release the spores.
Notes: Although inconspicuous and easily overlooked, it is very distinctive and can not be mistaken for any other pteridophyte in Africa.
Derivation of specific name: nudum: naked; also referring to the almost leafless character of this species.
Habitat: Cracks in sandstone cliffs, usually along a river or as an epiphyte on trees in evergreen forest at low altitude.
Altitude range: Up to 1900 m
Worldwide distribution: Widely distributed in Africa and on the African islands. Also known from Asia, Polynesia, the Americas, Spain and Mascarene islands.
Malawi distribution: S
Growth form(s): Epiphyte, lithophyte.
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 10 - 11. (Includes a picture).

Burrows, J.E. & Burrows, S.M. (1993). An annotated check-list of the pteridophytes of Malawi Kirkia 14(1) Page 80.

Chapano, C. & Mamuto, M. (2003). Plants of the Chimanimani District National Herbarium and Botanic Garden, Zimbabwe Page 46.

Crouch, N.R., Klopper, R.R., Burrows, J.E. & Burrows, S.M. (2011). Ferns of Southern Africa, A comprehensive guide Struik Nature Pages 130 - 131. (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 13.

Jacobsen, W.B.G. (1983). The Ferns and Fern Allies of Southern Africa. Butterworths, Durban and Pretoria. Pages 130 - 131. (Includes a picture).

Kornas, J. (1979). Distribution and ecology of the Pteridophytes in Zambia Polska Akademia Nauk Wydzial II Nauk Biologicznych Page 26.

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 9.

Roux, J.P. (2001). Conspectus of Southern African Pteridophyta. Southern African Botanical Diversity Network Report 13 Pages 16 - 17.

Roux, J.P. (2009). Synopsis of the Lycopodiophyta and Pteridophyta of Africa, Madagascar and neighbouring islands Page 36.

Schelpe, E.A.C.L.E. (1970). Pteridophyta Flora Zambesiaca Page 15. (Includes a picture).

Other sources of information about Psilotum nudum:

Our websites:

Flora of Mozambique: Psilotum nudum
Flora of Zambia: Psilotum nudum
Flora of Zimbabwe: Psilotum nudum

External websites:

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

Copyright: Mark Hyde, Bart Wursten, Petra Ballings and Meg Coates Palgrave, 2014-24

Hyde, M.A., Wursten, B.T., Ballings, P. & Coates Palgrave, M. (2024). Flora of Malawi: Species information: Psilotum nudum., retrieved 19 April 2024

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