by Stephen Mifsud
   24 Jun 2024      ()
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Asplenium trichomanes   (Maidenhair Spleenwort Fern)

Asplenium trichomanes  (ASPLENIACEAE.) 
Images for this profile are taken from the Maltese Islands after year 2000.

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General Information Species Images
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Profile Date Oct-2007 (taxon update: none)
Citation for this page Mifsud, S. (2022). Asplenium trichomanes - datasheet created on Oct-2007. Retrieved from on 24-Jun-2024

Nomenclature and Basic Information

Species name :

Asplenium trichomanesL.
Published in Sp. Pl. 1080 (1753)

Synonyms :
(basionym or principal syn.)

Athyrium trichomanes (L.) Shafer
Full list of synonyms : [Euro+Med] [PlantList] [IPNI] [POWO] [Catalogue of Life] []

Plant Family :

Aspleniaceae Newman (The Spleenwort Family)
4 species from the Aspleniaceae family are recorded from the Maltese Islands.

English name(s) :

Maidenhair Spleenwort Fern, Common Spleenwort Fern

Maltese name(s) :

Felċi rqiqa

Status for Malta :

Indigenous. Present on the Maltese islands before man

Frequency :

Very Common     Common    Frequent     Scarce     Rare    Very rare    Extinct

Growth form :

Raunkiaer lifeform [info]: CHAMEOPHYTE ( dwarf or small woody shrubs )
Germination [info]: Dicotyledon

Legal Protection :

Protected by law: Schedule VI of [S.L. 549.44] (strictly protected species)

Red List (1989) :

Threatened status for the Maltese Islands and has been listed in the Red Data Book (1st ed.)

Flowering Time :

All year

Colour of Flowers:



Not particularly toxic

Name Derivation :

Asplenium: An old name given by Dioscorides (40 - 90 AD) to a group of ferns commonly known as Spleenworts which were used to treat diseases of the spleen (=splenium). However, Asplenium literally means without a spleen! (Greek origin )

Planting in rural areas :

Can be planted in rural areas according to ERA Guidelines

Remarks :

Was not seen for many decades and believed to be extinct, but was rediscovered in 2006 by Mr. Timothy Tabo ne and one year later by Stephen Mifsud.

Description, Habitat and Distribution
Habitat in Europe: Data will be available in the next update of this website.
Preferred habitat in Malta: In moist, shaded valleys and damp pockets in coastal scree.
Botanical Description: Rhizome caespitose; scales up to 5 mm, with dark central stripe. Leaves 4-20(-35) cm; petiole c. ¼ as long as the lamina, dark reddish-brown; lamina pinnate, thicker and darker green than in 3, with occasional multicellular glandular hairs beneath or glabrous; rhachis dark reddish-brown to the apex, with 2 narrow, pale brown wings on the upper side; pinnae not more than twice as long as wide, entire or crenate-serrate, the base truncate or asymmetrically cuneate, the apex rounded. Sori small, linear, but the sporangia usually covering the pinna at maturity.
Distributional range: Throughout Europe

Distributional map in Europe
and the Mediterranean region (2018):
Occurrences in Europe.
(from Flora Europaea pre year 1993):
All Europe except Svalbard archipelago
Occurrences in Europe and the Mediterranean region.
(from Euro+Med Checklist, 2019)
  Country codes  
Ab(A N) AE(G) Ag Al Ar Au(A L) Az(C F J L M P S T) Be(B L) BH Bl(I M N) Br Bu By Ca(C G H P T) Cg Co Cr Cs Ct Cy Da Es Fa Fe Ga(C F M) Ge Gg(D) Gr Hb(E N) He Ho Hs(A G S) Hu Ir Is It La Le Lt Lu Ma Md(M) Mk Mo No Po Rf(C CS E N NW) Rm Sa Si(M S) Sk Sl Sr Su Sy Tn Tu(A E) Uk(K U)

Links & Further literature (4 papers)

Google Web

Google Images

Google Scholar

Research Gate




Med Checklist

Cat. of Life



World Flora Online

Plants of the World Online

Vienna Virt. Herb.

RBGE Herbarium

KEW Herbarium




Update on Maltese Flora (Central Mediterranean) including very rare species or species thought to be extinct from the Maltese islands Stephen Mifsud  (2010)
Current status of Asplenium sagittatum (Aspleniaceae) in the Maltese Islands Stephen Mifsud, Mark Napier, S. Fenech & Louis F. Cassar  (2016)
Rediscovery of Asplenium sagittatum and A. marinum (Pteridophyta: Aspleniaceae) in the Maltese Islands (Central Mediterranean Sdravko Vesselinov Lalov, Alena Seginkova & Joe Sultana  (2008)
Rediscovery of Asplenium sagittatum and A. marinum (Pteridophyta: Aspleniaceae) in the Maltese Islands (Central Mediterranean Sdravko Vesselinov Lalov, Alena Seginkova & Joe Sultana  (2008)
Kindly Email if there are papers and publications about local studies or information about this species to be included in the list above.

Species Images (18 images)
   Asplenium trichomanes   -   Image Code: ASLTM-0.
   Asplenium trichomanes   -   Image Code: ASLTM-1.
   Asplenium trichomanes   -   Image Code: ASLTM-2.
   Asplenium trichomanes   -   Image Code: ASLTM-3.
   Asplenium trichomanes   -   Image Code: ASLTM-4.
   Asplenium trichomanes   -   Image Code: ASLTM-5.
   Asplenium trichomanes   -   Image Code: ASLTM-6.
   Asplenium trichomanes   -   Image Code: ASLTM-7.
   Asplenium trichomanes   -   Image Code: ASLTM-8.
   Asplenium trichomanes   -   Image Code: ASLTM-9.
   Asplenium trichomanes   -   Image Code: ASLTM-10.
   Asplenium trichomanes   -   Image Code: ASLTM-11.
   Asplenium trichomanes   -   Image Code: ASLTM-12.
   Asplenium trichomanes   -   Image Code: ASLTM-13.
   Asplenium trichomanes   -   Image Code: ASLTM-14.
   Asplenium trichomanes   -   Image Code: ASLTM-15.
   Asplenium trichomanes   -   Image Code: ASLTM-16.
   Asplenium trichomanes   -   Image Code: ASLTM-17.

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Use this form to submit more information on this species or report mistakes in this webpage. If information supplied is taken from a book, journal or website, please provide the corresponding reference or website address. Your email address is only for internal communication. Please report only Maltese locations for plants that indicated as rare or very rare (refer to the nomenclature section above). Please do report mistakes, broken links, technical errors, typing / grammar errors, misidentifications or taxonomical updates; this will help to improve the website's accuracy. Thanks you! Fill any of the three sections (A/B/C) below and kindly submit the form.     * = required fields.
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Section A:  Additional Information about this plant species
Own observations: Info from published material (books, journals, website):
Reference of published material:
Section B:   Where have you seen this plant on the Maltese Islands?
Locations in Malta or Gozo where you have seen this plant. Only applies for rare plants.

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Try to be as concise as possible. Examples: Dingli Cliffs (near chapel), Wied Incita (Zebbug side), Triq il-Kbira (Qormi), Barriera ta' Ghajn Abdul (Xlendi), Fields East of Salib tal-gholja (Siggiewi). GPS co-ordinates are also welcomed!
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