Aleuritopteris - Sinopteridaceae

Aleuritopteris welwitschii (Baker) Ching

Photo: P. Ballings

Photo: P. Ballings

Photo: P. Ballings

Photo: P. Ballings

Photo: P. Ballings

Photo: P. Ballings






Cheilanthes mossambicensis Schelpe
Cheilanthes welwitschii Hook. ex Baker
Cheilanthes lutea sensu Kuhn

Common name


Rhizome creeping, branching, up to 2 mm in diameter; rhizome scales linear-lanceolate in outline, up to 3 mm long, dark-brown. Fronds monomorphic, closely spaced, about 5-10 mm apart, erect, 28-40 cm tall, subcoriaceous. Stipe up to 24 cm long, purple brown to castaneous, glossy, with scattered pale brown lanceolate scales basally and occasionally yellow powder near the base, especially when young. Lamina 2 to 3-pinnatifid, lanceolate to narrowly ovate in outline, up to 25 × 20 cm; pinnae 5-7 pairs, widely spaced, ovate-lanceolate in outline, petiolate or subsessile, 1.5-4 x 0.5-3.5 cm, dark green above, covered with pale yellow to orange powder beneath, subglabrous; ultimate lobes narrowly oblong in outline, margins crenate; rhachis brown; venation evident above, well branched. Sori minute, marginal, continuous; indusium narrow, lacerate.


The powdery underside makes it easy to distinguish this fern from other species. A. farinosa has a short, erect rhizome and a black stipe.


welwitschii: named after the Austrian botanist, Friedrich Martin Welwitsch (1806-1872)


Rock crevices and outcrops in deciduous miombo woodland.

Distribution worldwide

See African distribution.

Distribution in Africa

Angola, Malawi, Mozambique, Tanzania , Zimbabwe.

Growth form

Lithophytic, terrestrial.


  • Burrows, J.E. (1990) Southern African Ferns and Fern Allies. Frandsen, Sandton. Pages 154 - 155.
  • Jacobsen, W.B.G. (1983) The Ferns and Fern Allies of Southern Africa. Butterworths, Durban and Pretoria. Pages 248 - 249. As Cheilanthes mossambicensis. (Includes a picture).
  • Roux, J.P. (2001) Conspectus of Southern African Pteridophyta.Southern African Botanical Diversity Network Report, 13 Page 68.
  • 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.
  • Schelpe, E.A.C.L.E. (1970) Pteridophyta.Flora Zambesiaca, 0 Page 123. As Cheilanthes mossambicensis.
  • Verdcourt, B. (2002) Adiantaceae.Flora of Tropical East Africa, Page 32. As cheilanthes mossambicensis.