Christella - Thelypteridaceae

Christella chaseana (Schelpe) Holttum

Photo: P. Ballings






Thelypteris chaseana Schelpe
Lastrea chaseana (Schelpe) Pic.Serm.

Common name


Rhizome creeping, up to 20 mm in diameter; rhizome scales lanceolate in outline, apex tapering to a point, margin entire, up to 11 mm long, brown, thinly pilose. Fronds monomorphic, closely spaced, erect or slightly arching, not proliferous, herbaceous. Stipe 30-63 cm long, pale brown, hairless with dark brown scales near the base. Lamina deeply 2-pinnatifid, narrowly elliptic to lanceolate in outline, apex tapering to a point with a deeply pinnatifid terminal segment, basal 3-5 pairs of pinnae reduced and deflexed, up to 30-80 × 14-40 cm; pinnae narrowly oblong, 8-20 x 1.8-2.3 cm; ultimate lobes narrowly oblong, slightly falcate, apex rounded, basal acroscopic lobe enlarged and sometimes overlapping the rhachis, 5-10 x 2-3.5 mm, both surfaces hairy, more so along the veins, costa and costules; veins 1 pair meeting at the sinus; rhachis strawcoloured, pilose. Sori round, up to 16 per lobe; indusia small,subcircular to kidney-shaped with long white hairs.


Christella guenziana closely resembles C. chaseana but has an erect rhizome. C. microbasis has glandular hairs on the lamina undersurface as well as yellow glands on the indusia.
C. chaseana look for: creeping rhizome, 3-5 pairs of gradually reducing and deflexed pinnae, 1 pair of veins meeting at the sinus.


chaseana: named for Norman C. Chase (1888 - 1970), one of our foremost collectors of Zimbabwean plants, particularly of ferns.


Stream and riverbanks in mixed deciduous woodland and riverine forest fringes, among rocks in grassland, near water allthough not always along perennial streams.

Distribution worldwide

See african distribution.

Distribution in Africa

Angola, Cameroon, Congo, Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Tanzania , Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe.

Growth form



  • Burrows, J.E. (1990) Southern African Ferns and Fern Allies. Frandsen, Sandton. Pages 265 - 266. As Thelypteris chaseana (Includes a picture).
  • Crouch, N.R., Klopper, R.R., Burrows, J.E. & Burrows, S.M. (2011) Ferns of Southern Africa, A comprehensive guide. Struik Nature. Pages 690 - 691. (Includes a picture).
  • Jacobsen, W.B.G. (1983) The Ferns and Fern Allies of Southern Africa. Butterworths, Durban and Pretoria. Pages 392 - 393. (Includes a picture).
  • Kornas, J. (1979) Distribution and ecology of the Pteridophytes in Zambia. Polska Akademia Nauk Wydzial II Nauk Biologicznych. Pages 87 - 88. As Thelypteris chaseana
  • Roux, J.P. (2001) Conspectus of Southern African Pteridophyta.Southern African Botanical Diversity Network Report, 13 Page 121.
  • Roux, J.P. (2009) Synopsis of the Lycopodiophyta and Pteridophyta of Africa, Madagascar and neighbouring islands. Strelitzia 23, South African National Biodiversity Institute, Pretoria. Page 202.
  • Schelpe, E.A.C.L.E. (1970) Pteridophyta.Flora Zambesiaca, 0 Pages 194 - 195. As Thelypteris chaseana
  • Verdcourt, B (2006) Thelypteridaceae.Flora of Tropical East Africa, Pages 17 - 18.