Vittaria - Adiantaceae

Vittaria guineensis Desv. var. orientalis Hieron.

Photo: P. Ballings

Photo: P. Ballings

Photo: . ©Botanic Garden Meise (BR)






Vittaria loricea sensu Peter, non Fée
Vittaria guineensis Hieron., non Desv. sensu stricto

Common name


Rhizome fairly thick, shortly creeping; rhizome scales narrowly lanceolate, with or without a short hair-tip, dark brown, c. 3.5 mm long, margins ciliate. Fronds simple, spaced 3-10 mm apart, coriaceous, arching or pendulous; stipe castaneous to black, up to 3 cm long. Lamina up to 35 × 0.6 cm, narrowly elliptic to linear, apex tapering to a point, base tapering, midrib obvious below but not raised, veins obscure. Sori in two submarginal grooves up to 0.6 mm from the margin; indusium continuous, along both sides of the soral line.


Can be distinguished from other species by a combination of having a black stipe base, a midrib that is faintly visible but not raised below and rhizome scales that are less than 4 mm long and ciliate.


guineensis: from Guinea (West Africa), orientalis: implying that the variety's distribution occurs futher east.


Epiphyte or lithophyte, shade, moist evergreen forest.

Distribution worldwide

Distribution in Africa

Burundi, Cameroon, Congo, Dem. Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Kenya, Liberia, Malawi, Mozambique, Rwanda, Tanzania , Togo, Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe.

Growth form

Epiphytic, lithophytic.


  • Burrows, J.E. (1990) Southern African Ferns and Fern Allies. Frandsen, Sandton. Pages 110 - 111. (Includes a picture).
  • Jacobsen, W.B.G. (1983) The Ferns and Fern Allies of Southern Africa. Butterworths, Durban and Pretoria. Page 215. (Includes a picture).
  • Kornas, J. (1979) Distribution and ecology of the Pteridophytes in Zambia. Polska Akademia Nauk Wydzial II Nauk Biologicznych. Page 67.
  • 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 73 - 74.
  • Roux, J.P. (2001) Conspectus of Southern African Pteridophyta.Southern African Botanical Diversity Network Report, 13 Page 84.
  • Schelpe, E.A.C.L.E. (1970) Pteridophyta.Flora Zambesiaca, 0 Page 96.
  • Verdcourt, B. (1999) Vittariaceae.Flora of Tropical East Africa, Page 5.