Pteris - Pteridaceae

Pteris muricella Fée

Photo: P. Ballings

Photo: P. Ballings

Photo: P. Ballings

Photo: P. Ballings

Photo: P. Ballings

Photo: P. Ballings






Pteris pteridioides (Hook.) Ballard
Hypolepis pteridioides Hook.
Pteris brevisora Baker

Common name


Rhizome erect, ascending or shortly creeping, up to 10 mm in diameter, woody; rhizome scales lanceolate to narrowly ovate in outline, brown, up to 5 mm long, entire. Fronds tufted, arching, herbaceous, 0.5-1.5 m tall. Stipe up to 75 cm long, strawcoloured to pale brown, glabrous with a few scales near the base. Lamina up to (0.38-)1 × (0.28-)0.9 m, deltoid to pentagonal in outline with 5 main radiating axes, 2-to 3-pinnatifid, basal pair of pinnae basiscopically developed. Ultimate lobes 6-15 x 2.5-5 mm, pinnatifid, oblong, apices rounded, margins lobed in the upper half; veins free, no veins anastomosing below the sinus; glabrous on both surfaces, with spines present on the costae and costules on the uppersurface only, hairy benaeth. Rhachis glabrous, smooth. Sori linear, continuous, marginal, c. 2-6 mm long; indusia entire, continuous.


The pentagonal lamina with 5 radiating axes makes this species easy to recognize.



Deeply shaded forest floor, sometimes by swamps and streams.

Distribution worldwide

Widespreak in tropical Africa, Madagascar.

Distribution in Africa

Burundi, Cameroon, Dem. Republic of Congo, Equatorial Guinea (incl. Bioko), Ethiopia, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Liberia, Malawi, Mozambique, Rwanda, Sudan and South Sudan, Tanzania , Uganda, Zimbabwe.

Growth form



  • Burrows, J.E. (1990) Southern African Ferns and Fern Allies. Frandsen, Sandton. Page 163. as Pteris pteridioides (Includes a picture).
  • Jacobsen, W.B.G. (1983) The Ferns and Fern Allies of Southern Africa. Butterworths, Durban and Pretoria. Pages 237 - 239. as Pteris pteridiodes (Includes a picture).
  • 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 174 - 175.
  • 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 Page 117. as Pteris pteridioides
  • Tardieu-Blot, M.-L. (1964) Ptéridophytes vol.3.Flore du Cameroun, Page 170.
  • Verdcourt, B. (2002) Pteridaceae.Flora of Tropical East Africa, Page 18. As Pteris pteridioides (Hook.) Ballard