Cheilanthes - Sinopteridaceae

Cheilanthes schimperi Kunze

Photo: BT. Wursten

Photo: BT. Wursten

Photo: P. Ballings

Photo: P. Ballings

Photo: BT. Wursten






Aspidotis schimperi (Kunze) Pic.Serm.
Hypolepis schimperi (Kunze) Hook.

Common name


Rhizome creeping, c.5 mm in diameter, with many roots; rhizome scales brown, narrow, margin entire, apex hairpointed. Fronds closely spaced, erect, subcoracious. Stipe dark brown to almost black, up to 28 cm long, hairless but with a few brown hairs scales at base when young. Lamina 6-17 cm × 7-19 cm, roughly hexagonal to broadly triangular in outline, 4-pinnatifid to 5-pinnatifid on the lower basiscopically developed pinnae. Ultimate segments linear, narrow, c. 10 mm long, adnate and decurrent, with spaced, sharply, finely toothed margins, hairless on both surfaces. Rhachis and secondary rhachis dark brown. Sori very small, in the sinuses of the teeth of the ultimate segments; indusium small, membranous, formed from the inrolled margin.


Could be confused with C. multifida which does not have toothed margins or very long basal pinnae.


schimperi: named after W.P. Schimper (1804-1878), German bryologist and plant collector in North africa and Arabia.


Rocky outcrops, on earth and streambanks, around boulder bases, on termite mounds in open forest and Brachystegia woodland.

Distribution worldwide

Distribution in Africa

Angola, Cameroon, Dem. Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Malawi, Mozambique, Nigeria, Sudan and South Sudan, Tanzania , Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe.

Growth form

Lithophytic, terrestrial.


  • Burrows, J.E. (1990) Southern African Ferns and Fern Allies. Frandsen, Sandton. Pages 126 - 127. As Aspidotis schimperi (Includes a picture).
  • Jacobsen, W.B.G. (1983) The Ferns and Fern Allies of Southern Africa. Butterworths, Durban and Pretoria. Pages 233 - 234. As Aspidotis schimperi (Includes a picture).
  • Kornas, J. (1979) Distribution and ecology of the Pteridophytes in Zambia. Polska Akademia Nauk Wydzial II Nauk Biologicznych. Pages 52 - 53. As Aspidotis schimperi
  • Roux, J.P. (2001) Conspectus of Southern African Pteridophyta. Southern African Botanical Diversity Network Report, 13 Page 66.
  • 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 185.
  • Schelpe, E.A.C.L.E. (1970) Pteridophyta. Flora Zambesiaca, 0 Pages 113 - 115. As Aspidotis schimperi (Includes a picture).