Pellaea - Sinopteridaceae

Pellaea longipilosa Bonap.

Photo: P. Ballings

Photo: P. Ballings






Common name


Rhizome shortly creeping to sub-erect, up to 8 mm in diameter; rhizome scales, linear, subentire, 4-8 mm long, chestnut or dark brown with pale margins. Fronds monomorphic, tufted, erect, 20-45 cm tall, coriaceous. Stipe 5-20 cm long, brown to black, glabrous with age and with brown scales near the base similar to those on the rhizome. Lamina pinnate to 2-pinnate in the lower parts, narrowly oblong to lanceolate in outline, 8-39 × 2.5-12 cm, with up to 24 pairs of pinnae; pinnae narrowly ovate to linear in outline, slowly tapering to a somewhat rounded apex, cordate base articulated to a short petiole, 1-6.5 x 0.2-2.5 cm, hairless above, sparsely hairy or hairless below; veins hardly visible and free; rhachis and secondary rhachises brown to black, with a brown indumentum becoming glabrous with age. Sori marginal, continuous; indusium entire, membranous, continuous.


Could be mistaken for P. dura or P. doniana. P. dura has anastomosing veins, a more slender stipe and less hairs on stipe and rhachis. P. doniana is never 2-pinnate.


longipilosa: with long hairs, referring to the indumentum on the upper side of the rhachis (Jacobsen 1983); misleading allusion to the short brown hairs along stipe and rhachis (Burrows 1990).


On granite, sandstone, shales and serpentines in rocky deciduous woodland.

Distribution worldwide

See African distribution.

Distribution in Africa

Burundi, Dem. Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Somalia, 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 170 - 172. (Includes a picture).
  • Jacobsen, W.B.G. (1983) The Ferns and Fern Allies of Southern Africa. Butterworths, Durban and Pretoria. Page 273. (Includes a picture).
  • Kornas, J. (1979) Distribution and ecology of the Pteridophytes in Zambia. Polska Akademia Nauk Wydzial II Nauk Biologicznych. Pages 55 - 56.
  • 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 Pages 71 - 72.
  • Schelpe, E.A.C.L.E. (1970) Pteridophyta.Flora Zambesiaca, 0 Pages 129 - 131. (Includes a picture).
  • Verdcourt, B. (2002) Adiantaceae.Flora of Tropical East Africa, Pages 13 - 14.