Scientific Name
Ophioglossum gracillimum Welw. ex Hook. & Baker
Higher Classification
Ophioglossum lusitanicum L. var. gracillimum (Welw. ex Hook. & Baker) A.Braun
National Status
Status and Criteria
Endangered D
Assessment Date
J.E. Burrows, M. Lötter & L. von Staden
An extremely rare species known from two sites in South Africa. The total number of plants in the South African subpopulation is estimated to be between 50 and 100 mature individuals. One site is potentially threatened. There is a large disjunction between the South African subpopulations and those occurring in central Africa.
Not endemic to South Africa
Provincial distribution
Limpopo, Mpumalanga
In South Africa near Polokwane and Bronkhorstspruit. Also occurs in central Africa.
Habitat and Ecology
Major system
Major habitats
Makhado Sweet Bushveld, Eastern Highveld Grassland
Seasonally moist areas in open deciduous woodland. Depends on mycorrhizal associations, 1000-1300 m.
Potentially threatened by habitat degradation and destruction at one of two known sites in South Africa. Threats elsewhere in Africa not known.

An extremely rare and localized species, recorded only twice in South Africa. Subpopulations are small, and currently only two are known, each consisting of less than 10 plants. This is a habitat specialist and it is unlikely that many other subpopulations exist. This species is however very small, and easily overlooked, and it is therefore estimated that the population size in South Africa is more than 50 but less than 100 plants.

Population trend
Assessment History
Taxon assessed
Status and Criteria
Citation/Red List version
Ophioglossum gracillimum Welw. ex Hook. & BakerEN DRaimondo et al. (2009)

Burrows, J.E. 1990. Southern African ferns and fern allies. Frandsen Publishers, Sandton.

Crouch, N.R., Klopper, R.R., Burrows, J.E. and Burrows, S.M. 2011. Ferns of southern Africa: A comprehensive guide. Struik Nature, Cape Town.

Raimondo, D., von Staden, L., Foden, W., Victor, J.E., Helme, N.A., Turner, R.C., Kamundi, D.A. and Manyama, P.A. 2009. Red List of South African Plants. Strelitzia 25. South African National Biodiversity Institute, Pretoria.

Burrows, J.E., Lötter, M. & von Staden, L. 2011. Ophioglossum gracillimum Welw. ex Hook. & Baker. National Assessment: Red List of South African Plants version 2020.1. Accessed on 2024/02/23

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Distribution map

© J.E. Burrows

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