Aleuritopteris - Sinopteridaceae

Aleuritopteris farinosa (Forssk) Fée

Photo: BT. Wursten

Photo: BT. Wursten

Photo: BT. Wursten

Photo: BT. Wursten






Cheilanthes farinosa (Forssk.) Kaulf.
Pteris farinosa Forssk.
Allosorus farinosus (Forssk.) C.Presl.
Cassebeera farinosa (Forssk.) J.Sm.

Common name


Rhizome short, erect, up to 10 mm in diameter, rhizome scales dark-brown, entire, up to 7 mm in length, margins pale. Fronds tufted, erect, arching, herbaceous or thinly coriaceous, up to 40 cm long. Stipe black to castaneous, shiny, with scattered brown scales up to 7 mm long. Lamina lanceolate to narrowly ovate in outline, up to 390 × 180 mm, 2 to 3-pinnatifid; pinnae glabrous, dark matt green above, covered with a white or sometimes pale, yellow powder beneath. Lower pinnae larger than the ones above and more or less basiscopically developed; upper pinnae oblong, decurrent; ultimate lobes oblong, rounded, minutely toothed. Rhachis, costae, costules shiny black and glabrous. Sori small, marginal, in discrete or continuous clusters; indusium small, semi-transparent, variously lacerate.


The powdery underside makes it easy to distinguish this fern from other species. A. welwitschii has creeping rhizome and a brown stipe.


farinosa: mealy, referring to the powdery substance on the undersurface of the leaves.


Distribution worldwide

From China through much of Asia to North Africa going southwards to angola, Zambia, Zimbabwe and Malawi.

Distribution in Africa

Angola, Botswana, Burundi, Cameroon, Dem. Republic of Congo, Djibouti, Equatorial Guinea (incl. Bioko), Eritrea, Ethiopia, Guinea, Kenya, Malawi, Nigeria, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Sudan and South Sudan, Tanzania , Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe.

Growth form

Epiphytic, lithophytic, terrestrial.


  • Burrows, J.E. (1990) Southern African Ferns and Fern Allies. Frandsen, Sandton. Page 128. C. farinosa (Includes a picture).
  • Jacobsen, W.B.G. (1983) The Ferns and Fern Allies of Southern Africa. Butterworths, Durban and Pretoria. Pages 247 - 248. As C. farinosa (Includes a picture).
  • Kornas, J. (1979) Distribution and ecology of the Pteridophytes in Zambia. Polska Akademia Nauk Wydzial II Nauk Biologicznych. Pages 47 - 48. As C. farinosa
  • 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 179.
  • Roux, J.P. (2001) Conspectus of Southern African Pteridophyta. Southern African Botanical Diversity Network Report, 13 Page 68. (Includes a picture).
  • Schelpe, E.A.C.L.E. (1970) Pteridophyta. Flora Zambesiaca, 0 Page 122. As C. farinosa