Ophioglossum lusitanicum L.

Austral Adder's-tongue

Sp. Pl. 1063 (1753) APNI

Taxonomic status:Accepted

Occurrence status:Present

Establishment means:Native

Plants 3–15 cm tall, with 1–4 fronds; usually colonial. Rhizome erect, short, tuberous; roots few, brittle, spreading, sometimes with vegetative buds. Stipe fleshy, partly below ground, not persistent. Lamina 1–4 cm long, somewhat fleshy, lanceolate, lanceolate-ovate to short-elliptic; base narrowing to long-cuneate, but sometimes broadly cuneate; veins often indistinct, forming network of areoles, some including free vein endings. Spike 5–15 mm long, on stalk up to 8 cm long, growing from base of sterile lamina; 6–15 pairs of sporangia per spike.

Brid, CVU, DunT, EGL, EGU, GipP, Glep, Gold, GGr, HFE, HNF, HSF, LoM, MonT, MuF, MuM, NIS, OtP, RobP, SnM, VAlp, VRiv, VVP, WaP, Wim. All States. Almost cosmopolitan. Mostly in damp soil of open-forest, heathland or grassland, and often beside streams.

Ophioglossum lusitanicum dies back in winter, but even when fully grown and fronds at their largest, plants are often inconspicuous. Although the lamina is usually much longer than broad (mostly more than 3 times), populations from some parts of the state (e.g. mallee areas, Gippsland and around Melbourne) have a lamina only twice as long as broad. See also notes under O. reticulatum.

Source: Entwisle, T.J. (1994). Ferns and allied plants (Psilophyta, Lycopodiophyta, Polypodiophyta). In: Walsh, N.G.; Entwisle, T.J. (eds), Flora of Victoria Vol. 2, Ferns and Allied Plants, Conifers and Monocotyledons. Inkata Press, Melbourne.
Hero image
Distribution map
life Life
kingdom Plantae
phylum Tracheophyta
class Psilotopsida
genus Ophioglossum
Higher taxa


Source: AVH (2014). Australia's Virtual Herbarium, Council of Heads of Australasian Herbaria, <http://avh.chah.org.au>. Find Ophioglossum lusitanicum in AVH ; Victorian Biodiversity Atlas, © The State of Victoria, Department of Environment and Primary Industries (published Dec. 2014) Find Ophioglossum lusitanicum in Victorian Biodiversity Atlas
  Bioregion Occurrence status Establishment means
Lowan Mallee present native
Murray Mallee present native
Wimmera present native
Glenelg Plain present native
Bridgewater present native
Victorian Volcanic Plain present native
Victorian Riverina present native
Robinvale Plains present native
Murray Fans present native
Gippsland Plain present native
Otway Plain present native
Warrnambool Plain present native
Goldfields present native
Central Victorian Uplands present native
Greater Grampians present native
Dundas Tablelands present native
Northern Inland Slopes present native
East Gippsland Lowlands present native
East Gippsland Uplands present native
Highlands-Southern Fall present native
Highlands-Northern Fall present native
Monaro Tablelands present native
Highlands-Far East present native
Victorian Alps present native
Snowy Mountains present native

State distribution

Distribution map
Western Australia
Northern Territory
South Australia
New South Wales
Australian Capital Territory