Pellaea - Sinopteridaceae

Pellaea doniana J.Sm. ex Hook.

Photo: BT. Wursten

Photo: P. Ballings

Photo: P. Ballings






Pteris doniana (J.Sm. ex Hook.) Kuhn
Pteridella doniana (J.Sm. ex Hook.) Mett. ex Kuhn
Allosorus doniana (J.Sm. ex Hook.) Kuntze

Common name


Rhizome creeping to semi-erect, up to 10 mm in diameter; rhizome scales brown, entire, linear, up to 8 mm long, margins paler. Fronds tufted, erect, coriaceous. Stipe dark brown, matt, up to 45 cm long, with a brown scales when young, later becoming glabrous, with scattered scales similar to the rhizome scales near the base. Lamina narrowly oblong to lanceolate in outline, up to 70 cm × 23 cm, imparipinnate with a single pinna on the top resembling the lateral pinnae, lowest pinnae not or slightly reduced, up to 20 pairs of pinnae. Ultimate segments narrowly ovate-lanceolate in outline, up to 10 cm × 2 cm, cordate base articulated to a short petiole, margins minutely crenulate to entire, glabrous on both surfaces, dark green above, paler below, veins free. Rhachis, petiolules and costae similar to the stipe but with short stiff hairs on both surfaces. Sori marginal, continuous; indusium entire, membranous, continuous.


At first glance P. doniana might be confused with P. pectiniformis, the latter however has much smaller and more numerous narrowly linear pinnae.


Doniana: named after George Don (1798-1856)who first collected this fern on St. Thomas Island (São Tomé).


Riverine scrub or forest and miombo woodland, mostly shaded.

Distribution worldwide

Distribution in Africa

Angola, Benin, Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Congo, Dem. Republic of Congo, Equatorial Guinea (incl. Bioko), Ghana, Guinea, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Liberia, Malawi, Mali, Mozambique, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Sudan and South Sudan, Tanzania , Togo, Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe.

Growth form

Lithophytic, terrestrial.


  • Burrows, J.E. (1990) Southern African Ferns and Fern Allies. Frandsen, Sandton. Pages 172 - 174. (Includes a picture).
  • Jacobsen, W.B.G. (1983) The Ferns and Fern Allies of Southern Africa. Butterworths, Durban and Pretoria. Pages 271 - 272. (Includes a picture).
  • Kornas, J. (1979) Distribution and ecology of the Pteridophytes in Zambia. Polska Akademia Nauk Wydzial II Nauk Biologicznych. Pages 54 - 55.
  • Roux, J.P. (2009) Synopsis of the Lycopodiophyta and Pteridophyta of Africa, Madagascar and neighbouring islands. Strelitzia 23, South African National Biodiversity Institute, Pretoria. Pages 189 - 190.
  • Roux, J.P. (2001) Conspectus of Southern African Pteridophyta.Southern African Botanical Diversity Network Report, 13 Page 71.
  • Schelpe, E.A.C.L.E. (1970) Pteridophyta.Flora Zambesiaca, 0 Page 129. (Includes a picture).
  • Tardieu-Blot, M.-L. (1964) Ptéridophytes vol.3.Flore du Cameroun, Pages 140 - 141.