Cheilanthes - Sinopteridaceae

Cheilanthes pentagona Schelpe & N.C. Anthony

Photo: P. Ballings

Photo: P. Ballings

Photo: P. Ballings

Photo: P. Ballings






Common name


Rhizome creeping, up to 3 mm in diameter; rhizome scales lanceolate in outline, margin entire, reddish brown with dark central stripe. Fronds monomorphic, closely spaced, erect, herbaceous to coriaceous, grey to midgreen. Stipe up to 15 cm long, dark brown to almost black, glabrous but with few brown scales at the base. Lamina 3-pinnatifid to 4-pinnatifid on the basal pinnae, lowest pinnae basiscopically developed, strongly pentagonal in outline, 3.5-11 cm × 3.5-11 cm; pinnae both surfaces hairless, margins wavy to shallowly lobed; venation apparent on both surfaces; rhachis very dark brown to almost black, hairless, shiny. Sori small, marginal, discrete; indusium small, discontinuous, pale, subentire to erose, membranous.


Could be confused with C. bergiana or mostly with C. multifida. C. bergiana is lightly hairy, has underground stolons and is a forest species. C. multifida differs in having brown rhizome scales, a lamina that is more dissected (3- to 5-pinnatifid), broadly ovate-deltate in outline and with obscure venation.


pentagona: having 5 angles, referring to the pentagonal outline of the fronds.


At the base of rocks and in crevices or in full sun, on serpentine.

Distribution worldwide

See African distribution.

Distribution in Africa

Angola, Namibia, South Africa, Zimbabwe.

Growth form

Lithophytic, terrestrial.


  • Burrows, J.E. (1990) Southern African Ferns and Fern Allies. Frandsen, Sandton. Pages 152 - 154. (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 404 - 405. (Includes a picture).
  • Jacobsen, W.B.G. (1983) The Ferns and Fern Allies of Southern Africa. Butterworths, Durban and Pretoria. Page 266. Note
  • 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 184.
  • Roux, J.P. (2001) Conspectus of Southern African Pteridophyta.Southern African Botanical Diversity Network Report, 13 Page 65.