Polystichum Roth


Description of the genus

Plants terrestrial or lithophytic. Rhizome short, erect or creeping; rhizome scales brown, entire, densely set. Stipe not articulated, scaly at base. Fronds tufted, herbaceous to coriaceous. Lamina narrowly elliptic to oblong-lanceolate, pinnate to 3-pinnate, but pinnae not basiscopically developed. Pinnae and pinnules unequal at the base, crenate to aristate-dentate, veins free. Pinnae costae with raised edges on the upper surface. Sori round; indusia peltate.


Derivation of name:  polys: many, stichos: row; referring to the rows of sorion the pinnae.

Worldwide: c. 220 species, near cosmopolitan distribution.



We have 15 taxa in the database for Polystichum.

  • Polystichum aculeatum (L.) Roth.
  • Polystichum dracomontanum Schelpe
  • Polystichum incongruum J.P. Roux
  • Polystichum kilimanjaricum Pic. Serm.
  • Polystichum luctuosum (Kunze) T. Moore
  • Polystichum macleae (Baker) Diels
  • Polystichum magnificum F. Ballard
  • Polystichum monticola N.C.Anthony & Schelpe
  • Polystichum pungens (Kaulf.) C.Presl
  • Polystichum setiferum (Forssk.) T.Moore ex Woyn.
  • Polystichum sinense (H.Christ) H.Christ
  • Polystichum transkeiense W. Jacobsen
  • Polystichum transvaalense N.C. Anthony
  • Polystichum volkensii (Hieron.) C.Chr.
  • Polystichum zambesiacum Schelpe


  • 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.