Species Factsheets

Asplenium pinnatifidum

Lobed Spleenwort

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State Status: N
PBS Status: Pennsylvania Rare (PR)
Federal Status:

Global Rank: G4 rank interpretation
State Rank: S3

Did You Know?

Because its spores are usually fertile, rather than abortive, lobed spleenwort is regarded as a distinct species that is able to reproduce itself.

Asplenium pinnatifidum


Lobed spleenwort (Asplenium pinnatifidum) is a small fern that grows from a short rhizome. The leaves, narrowly triangular in shape and tapering to an elongated tip, may be up to 17cm long but are often much shorter. The leaf margins have a lobed outline, with the lobes tending to get deeper near the base of the leaf. The leaf stem is mostly green, but maroon at the base. As in most ferns, the spores are produced on the underside of the leaves.

Rank Justification

Vulnerable in the nation or state due to a restricted range, relatively few populations (often 80 or fewer), recent and widespread declines, or other factors making it vulnerable to extirpation.


The PA Biological Survey (PABS) considers lobed spleenwort to be a species of special concern, based on the few occurrences that have been recently confirmed and its specialized habitat. It does not have a PA legal rarity status, but has been assigned a suggested rarity status of Rare by PABS. About two dozen populations, mostly with few individuals, are currently known.


It grows on dry shaded cliffs and rock outcrops, particularly on sandstone and schist.

Survey Dates

Year-round (evergreen)


In Pennsylvania, it has been documented historically at scattered



The viability of existing populations and the rock outcrop habitat may be enhanced by establishing a surrounding buffer of forest.

Conservation Status Map


Map Legend

NatureServe. 2017. NatureServe Explorer: An online encyclopedia of life [web application]. Version 7.1. NatureServe, Arlington, Virginia. Available https://explorer.natureserve.org.


  • NatureServe. 2018. NatureServe Explorer: An online encyclopedia of life [web application]. Version 7.1. NatureServe, Arlington, Virginia. Available at https://www.natureserve.org/explorer
  • Pennsylvania Natural Heritage Program. 2018.
  • Rhoads, A.F. and W.M. Klein, Jr. 1993. The Vascular Flora of Pennsylvania. American Philosophical Society, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Rhoads, A.F. and T.A. Block.
  • 2007. The Plants of Pennsylvania: An Illustrated Manual. 2nd edition. University of Pennsylvania Press, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
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