Pteris - Pteridaceae

Pteris friesii Hieron.






Pteris quadriaurita Retz. subsp. friesii (Hieron.) Schelpe
Pteris catoptera Retz. var. friesii (Hieron.) Verdc.

Common name


Rhizome erect to prostrate, up to 15 mm in diameter; rhizome scales lanceolate, brown with dark central stripe, up to 3 mm long, ciliate. Fronds tufted, arching, slightly coriaceous. Stipe up to 60 cm long, strawcoloured to dark brown, glabrous. Lamina up to 1 × 0.8 m, ovate in outline, deeply 2-pinnatifid, basal pinnae basiscopically developed. Pinnae narrowly lanceolate, pinnatifid; ultimate lobes narrowly linear, apices rounded, margins entire; veins free, no veins anastomosing below the sinus; glabrous on both surfaces, single spine present along the costa at the junction of the costules on the uppersurface only. Rhachis glabrous, smooth. Sori linear, continuous, marginal; indusia entire, membranous.


Can be confused with Pteris Catoptera of which the lamina has a more membranous texture, it also has spines on the costules and costae on the upper surface of the lamina. Pteris dentata has ultimate lobes with serrate-dentate margins.


friesii: named after Robert Elias Fries of Sweden, who participated in the Swedish Rhodesia-Congo Expedition in 1911-1912


Undergrowth of evergreen forest, moist forest in more arid regions.

Distribution worldwide

Africa, Mascarene and Comoro Islands, Seysecelles and Madagascar.

Distribution in Africa

Angola, Cameroon, Dem. Republic of Congo, Gabon, Guinea, Kenya, Liberia, Malawi, Mozambique, Nigeria, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Sudan and South Sudan, Swaziland, Tanzania , Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe.

Growth form



  • Burrows, J.E. (1990) Southern African Ferns and Fern Allies. Frandsen, Sandton. Pages 164 - 166. (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 326 - 327. (Includes a picture).
  • Jacobsen, W.B.G. (1983) The Ferns and Fern Allies of Southern Africa. Butterworths, Durban and Pretoria. Pages 242 - 243. (Includes a picture).
  • Kornas, J. (1979) Distribution and ecology of the Pteridophytes in Zambia. Polska Akademia Nauk Wydzial II Nauk Biologicznych. Pages 69 - 70.
  • 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 172.
  • Roux, J.P. (2001) Conspectus of Southern African Pteridophyta. Southern African Botanical Diversity Network Report, 13 Page 79.
  • Schelpe, E.A.C.L.E. (1970) Pteridophyta. Flora Zambesiaca, 0 Pages 118 - 120.