Sticherus - Gleicheniaceae

Sticherus umbraculiferus (Kunze) Ching

Photo: P. Ballings

Photo: BT. Wursten

Photo: P. Ballings

Photo: P. Ballings

Photo: P. Ballings






Mertensia umbraculifera Kunze
Gleichenia umbraculifera (Kunze) T.Moore

Common name


Rhizome creeping, 5-8 mm in diameter, branched; scales small, light brown. Fronds spaced 2-10 cm apart. Stipe up to 1 m long, glabrous or with few pale brown scales. Lamina kidney-shaped in outline and repeatedly dichotomously branched, all branches covered with pale brown scales and bearing pinnules. Pinnule lobes oblong-linear,bluntly acute to attenuate, 10-30 × 1.8-2 mm, glabrous but with few scales on midrib below. Sori superficial, not sunken, scattered between the midrib and the margin of pinnule lobes below, often confined to the basal half of each lobe.


Differs from Gleichenia polypodioides by having superficial sori that are not sunken into the lamina and pinnules that are linear; differs from both Gleichenia polypodioides and Dicranopteris linearis by having pinnules that are set all along the lamina axes.


umbraculum: umbrella; referring to the frond shape.


Along roadsides or river margins, also in areas between forest and mountain grassland, boulder bases in grassland, in full sun or dappled shade.

Distribution worldwide

Distribution in Africa

Mozambique, South Africa, Swaziland, Zimbabwe.

Growth form

Lithophytic, terrestrial.


  • Burrows, J.E. (1990) Southern African Ferns and Fern Allies. Frandsen, Sandton. Pages 52 - 54. As Gleichenia umbraculifera (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 176 - 177. (Includes a picture).
  • Jacobsen, W.B.G. (1983) The Ferns and Fern Allies of Southern Africa. Butterworths, Durban and Pretoria. Pages 183 - 184. As Gleichenia umbraculifera (Includes a picture).
  • Roux, J.P. (2001) Conspectus of Southern African Pteridophyta. Southern African Botanical Diversity Network Report, 13 Page 39. As Gleichenia umbraculifera
  • 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 50.
  • Schelpe, E.A.C.L.E. (1970) Pteridophyta. Flora Zambesiaca, 0 Page 50. As Gleichenia umbraculifera