Pellaea - Sinopteridaceae

Pellaea pectiniformis Baker

Photo: BT. Wursten

Photo: P. Ballings

Photo: P. Ballings

Photo: P. Ballings

Photo: P. Ballings






Pellaea goudotii Kunze ex C. Chr.
Pteris pectiniformis Godet ex Kuhn
Pteridella pectiniformis (Baker) Mett. ex Kuhn
Allosorus pectiniformis (Baker) Kuntze

Common name


Rhizome creeping to semi-erect, up to 8 mm in diameter; rhizome scales narrowly lanceolate, apex gradualy tapering to a point, subentire, 3-5 mm long, dark brown. Fronds monomorphic, tufted, erect, 25-50 cm tall, coriaceous. Stipe up to 30 cm long, dark brown to black, with short, brown, hairlike scales mixed with sparse larger and broader scales, becoming subglabrous with age. Lamina pinnate, narrowly oblong to lanceolate in outline, 13-30 × 3-9 cm; pinnae up to 48 pairs, linear in outline, apex rounded, base cordate, 1.2-6 × 0.1-0.6 cm, subopposite to alternate, articulated to a very short petiole, hairless above, sparsely hairy along the costae below; veins free, hardly visible; rhachis dark brown, thinly pilose. Sori marginal, continuous; indusium erose to entire, membranous, continuous.


Unlike other Pellaea species P. pectiniformis is never bipinnate. It could be confused with P. doniana, which has broader and less numerous ovate-lanceolate pinnae.


pectiniformis: combshaped, referring to the shape of the lamina which has close, narrow and parallel pinnae.


Rock crevices, shallow soils on sheetrock, boulder bases and rocky outcrops in miombo woodland, exposed or lightly shaded.

Distribution worldwide

Africa, Madagascar and Comoro Islands.

Distribution in Africa

Angola, Burundi, Dem. Republic of Congo, Gabon, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Rwanda, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania , Zambia, Zimbabwe.

Growth form

Lithophytic, terrestrial.


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  • Crouch, N.R., Klopper, R.R., Burrows, J.E. & Burrows, S.M. (2011) Ferns of Southern Africa, A comprehensive guide. Struik Nature. Pages 416 - 417. (Includes a picture).
  • Jacobsen, W.B.G. (1983) The Ferns and Fern Allies of Southern Africa. Butterworths, Durban and Pretoria. Pages 270 - 271. (Includes a picture).
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  • Verdcourt, B. (2002) Adiantaceae. Flora of Tropical East Africa, Pages 9 - 10.