Christella - Thelypteridaceae

Christella microbasis (Baker) Holttum






Thelypteris microbasis (Baker) Tardieu
Nephrodium microbasis Baker
Dryopteris microbasis (Baker) Kuntze
Lastrea microbasis (Baker) Pic. Serm.

Common name


Rhizome shortly ascending, c. 10 mm in diameter; rhizome scales lanceolate in outline, 2-6 mm long, brown. Frond monomorphic, tufted. Stipe 15-60 cm long, strawcoloured, without hairs or scales. Lamina deeply 2-pinnatifid, elliptic to lanceolate in outline, basal 2-3 pairs of pinnae reduced, lowest pair much reduced (up to 2.5 cm long), 23-70 x 10-25 cm; pinnae narrowly oblong in outline, apex tapering to a point, 5-16 x 1-1.8 cm; ultimate lobes oblong in outline, falcate, basal acroscopic lobe enlarged, 5-10 x 2-4 mm; both surfaces with scattered pale hairs, more so on the veins, costae and costules, lower surface also with short, glandular or capitate, yellowish hairs; veins not anastomosing or almost so in the sinus but in E Africa often with many anastomising basal veins; rhachis set with long soft hairs. Sori round; indusia covered with short, yellow, glandular hairs and a few white hairs.


Christella chaseana closely resembles C. microbasis but does not have the glandular hairs on the lower surface of the lamina nor the yellow glands on the indusia.


mikros: small, basis: base; most likely referring to the much reduced pair of basal pinnae.


Evergreen forest, Miombo woodland, growing by streams, in water-created recesses at the base of sandstone cliffs, on rocky ground in gorge near waterfall.

Distribution worldwide

See African distribution.

Distribution in Africa

Angola, Benin, Cameroon, Ghana, Guinea, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Liberia, Mali, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Sudan and South Sudan, Tanzania , Zimbabwe.

Growth form



  • Burrows, J.E. (1990) Southern African Ferns and Fern Allies. Frandsen, Sandton. Page 265. As Thelypteris microbasis (Includes a picture).
  • Jacobsen, W.B.G. (1983) The Ferns and Fern Allies of Southern Africa. Butterworths, Durban and Pretoria. Pages 390 - 391. (Includes a picture).
  • 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 203.
  • Tardieu-Blot, M.-L. (1964) Ptéridophytes vol.3.Flore du Cameroun, Pages 242 - 243.
  • Verdcourt, B (2006) Thelypteridaceae.Flora of Tropical East Africa, Pages 14 - 15.