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 dark brown, subentire, narrowly lanceolate, apex gradualy tapering to a point, up to 4 mm long. Fronds tufted, erect, coriaceous. Stipe dark brown to black, up to 30 cm long, with short, brown, hairlike scales mixed with sparse larger and broader scales, becoming subglabrous with age. Lamina narrowly oblong to lanceolate in outline, up to 13-30 cm × 4-9 cm, pinnate, up to 48 pairs of subopposite to alternate pinnae. Pinnae linear in outline, up to 18-60 mm × 1-2 mm, apex rounded, cordate base articulated to a very short petiole, glabrous above, sparsely hairy along the costae, veins 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.


  • Burrows, J.E. (1990) Southern African Ferns and Fern Allies. Frandsen, Sandton. Pages 174 - 175. (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 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).
  • Kornas, J. (1979) Distribution and ecology of the Pteridophytes in Zambia. Polska Akademia Nauk Wydzial II Nauk Biologicznych. Pages 57 - 58.
  • Roux, J.P. (2009) Synopsis of the Lycopodiophyta and Pteridophyta of Africa, Madagascar and neighbouring islands. Strelitzia 23, South African National Biodiversity Institute, Pretoria. Pages 190 - 191.
  • Roux, J.P. (2001) Conspectus of Southern African Pteridophyta. Southern African Botanical Diversity Network Report, 13 Page 72.
  • Schelpe, E.A.C.L.E. (1970) Pteridophyta. Flora Zambesiaca, 0 Pages 128 - 129.