Schizaeaceae - Comb ferns


Description of the family

Terrestrial or lithophitic ferns. Rhizome subterranean, short-creeping, branched, with closely-spaced dimorphic fronds. Sterile frond lamina simple, narrowly linear, with a simple, central midrib, glabrous or spacely set with hairs, grass-like. Fertile frond very narrowly linear with a terminal, simple or dichotomously branched, comb-like structure. Sporangia in 2 rows, one on either side of each fertile pinna, homosporous.

Worldwide: 2 genera and c.30 species worldwide, pantropical distribution.



  • Schizaea Sm.


  • Crouch, N.R., Klopper, R.R., Burrows, J.E. & Burrows, S.M. (2011) Ferns of Southern Africa, A comprehensive guide. Struik Nature.
  • Jacobsen, W.B.G. (1983) The Ferns and Fern Allies of Southern Africa. Butterworths, Durban and Pretoria.
  • Roux, J.P. (2001) Conspectus of Southern African Pteridophyta. Southern African Botanical Diversity Network Report, 13: 1-222.
  • Schelpe, E.A.C.L.E. (1970) Pteridophyta. Flora Zambesiaca, 0: 1-254.