Ptisana - Marattiaceae

Ptisana fraxinea (Sm.) Murdock var. salicifolia (Schrad.) Murdock

Photo: P. Ballings

Photo: P. Ballings

Photo: P. Ballings

Photo: P. Ballings

Photo: D. Gwynne-Evans

Photo: D. Gwynne-Evans

Photo: P. Ballings






Marattia salicifolia Schrad.
Marattia natalensis C. Presl
Marattia dregeana C. Presl
Marattia fraxinea sensu Sim
Marattia fraxinea Sm. ex J.F.Gmel. var. salicifolia (Schrad.) C.Chr.

Common name


Rhizome massive, forming an upright caudex, up to 40 cm high and 30 cm across. Fronds tufted, arching, (1–)2.5–4 m tall, stiffly fleshy. Stipe up to 1.5 m long, fleshy, light green or often purplish brown and with 4 cm long whitish or green streaks, base swollen and flanked by a pair of thick green to purplish fleshy basal stipules, sparsely and minutely tuberculate or prickly towards the base which is thinly clothed in narrow rust coloured scales. Lamina 1-3 × 0.5-1.5 m, bipinnate, ovate in outline. Pinnae in 6–9 pairs, up to 80 cm long, imparipinnate, oblong to oblong-lanceolate in outline, rarely divided at the apex, with a fleshy swelling at the base; pinna-rachis often winged. Pinnules up to 16 x 2.5 cm, narrowly oblong-lanceolate in outline, margin sharply toothed, apex tapering to a point, base unequally wedge-shaped, venation prominent below, glabrous save for sparse minute scales along the costule. Synangia very distinctive, capsular with linear opening, situated singly towards the end of each vein, c. 2-2.5 × 1 mm, grey-green drying brown.



fraxinea: resembling the genus Fraxinus;
salicifolia: with leaves like a Salix (a willow).


Along streams in deeply shaded evergreen forest , montane forest, swampy places.

Distribution worldwide

Africa, Mascarene islands, Madagascar.

Distribution in Africa

Angola, Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Congo, Dem. Republic of Congo, Equatorial Guinea (incl. Bioko), Ethiopia, Gabon, Ghana, Guinea, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Liberia, Malawi, Mozambique, Nigeria, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, Sudan and South Sudan, Swaziland, Tanzania , Zimbabwe.

Growth form



  • Burrows, J.E. (1990) Southern African Ferns and Fern Allies. Frandsen, Sandton. Page 49. (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 138 - 139.
  • Jacobsen, W.B.G. (1983) The Ferns and Fern Allies of Southern Africa. Butterworths, Durban and Pretoria. Pages 166 - 168. (Includes a picture).
  • 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 31 - 32.
  • Roux, J.P. (2001) Conspectus of Southern African Pteridophyta.Southern African Botanical Diversity Network Report, 13 Page 35. (Includes a picture).
  • Schelpe, E.A.C.L.E. (1970) Pteridophyta.Flora Zambesiaca, 0 Pages 38 - 40. (Includes a picture).
  • Tardieu-Blot, M.-L. (1964) Ptéridophytes vol.3.Flore du Cameroun, Page 50.
  • Thardieu-Blot, M.L. (1964) Ptéridophytes vol.8.Flore du Gabon, Pages 32 - 34. (Includes a picture).
  • Verdcourt, B. (1999) Marattiaceae.Flora of Tropical East Africa, Pages 1 - 3. As Marattia fraxinea Sm. (Includes a picture).