Pellaea - Sinopteridaceae

Pellaea dura (Willd.) Hook. var. dura

Photo: P. Ballings

Photo: P. Ballings

Photo: P. Ballings

Photo: P. Ballings

Photo: P. Ballings

Photo: P. Ballings

Photo: P. Ballings






Pteris dura Willd.
Allosorus durus (Willd.) C.Presl
Cheilanthes dura (Willd.) T.Moore
Pteridella dura (Willd.) Mett. ex Kuhn
Pteris burkeana Hook.

Common name


Rhizome shortly creeping to semi-erect, up to 5-7 mm in diameter; rhizome scales linear-lanceolate in outline, apex slowly tapering to a point, subentire, 3-7 mm long, reddish brown. Fronds monomorphic, tufted, erect, 7-50 cm tall, coriaceous. Stipe up to 25 cm long, dark brown, subglabrous with with dense short stiff hairs on upper surface and few hair-like brown scales near the base. Lamina pinnate to 2-pinnate (-3-pinnulate) on the basal 1-3 pinnae, ovate to lanceolate in outline, up to 24 cm × 10 cm; pinnae in 3-10(-22) pairs, narrowly elliptic to lanceolate in outline, apex rounded, cordate to rounded base articulated to a short petiole, 1-7.5(-9) x 0.3-2.5 cm, hairless on both surfaces, paler green below; veins hardly visible and anastomosing; rhachis and secondary rhachises black, with short, soft hairs above, hairless below. Sori marginal, continuous; indusium entire, membranous, continuous.


Could be mistaken for P. longipilosa or P. doniana. P. longipilosa has free veins, a more stout stipe and a brown indumentum on stipe and rhachis. P. doniana is never 2-pinnate.


dura: hard, referring to the stiff, coriaceous fronds.


Shaded and moist conditions in rocky woodland and grassland, crevices in rocky slopes.

Distribution worldwide

Africa, Madagascar, Mascarene and Comoro Islands.

Distribution in Africa

Angola, Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Equatorial Guinea (incl. Bioko), Ethiopia, Gabon, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania , Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe.

Growth form

Lithophytic, terrestrial.


  • Burrows, J.E. (1990) Southern African Ferns and Fern Allies. Frandsen, Sandton. Page 170. As P. dura (Willd.) Hook. (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 414 - 415. (Includes a picture).
  • Jacobsen, W.B.G. (1983) The Ferns and Fern Allies of Southern Africa. Butterworths, Durban and Pretoria. Pages 273 - 274. As P. dura (Willd.) Hook. (Includes a picture).
  • Kornas, J. (1979) Distribution and ecology of the Pteridophytes in Zambia. Polska Akademia Nauk Wydzial II Nauk Biologicznych. Page 55.
  • 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 190.
  • Roux, J.P. (2001) Conspectus of Southern African Pteridophyta.Southern African Botanical Diversity Network Report, 13 Page 71.
  • Schelpe, E.A.C.L.E. (1970) Pteridophyta.Flora Zambesiaca, 0 Page 132. As P. dura (Willd.) Hook.
  • Thardieu-Blot, M.L. (1964) Ptéridophytes vol.8.Flore du Gabon, Pages 104 - 106. As Pellaea holstii Hieron. (Includes a picture).
  • Verdcourt, B. (2002) Adiantaceae.Flora of Tropical East Africa, Pages 14 - 15.