Cyathea - Cyatheaceae

Cyathea dregei Kunze

Photo: S. Dondeyne

Photo: BT. Wursten

Photo: P. Ballings

Photo: BT. Wursten

Photo: P. Ballings

Photo: P. Ballings






Alsophila dregei (Kunze) R. M. Tryon
Cyathea dregei Kunze var. polyphlebia (Baker) C.Chr.
Cyathea burkei Hook.
Cyathea angolensis Welw. ex Hook.
Cyathea dregei Kunze var. segregata (Baker) C.Chr

Common name

Grassland tree fern


Caudex thick, stout, 5 m × 45(-90 near base) cm, without spines and without aphlebia in the crown of the caudex, many old pendulous fronds present. Fronds coriaceous, in whorls. Stipe rough, 30-50 cm long, pale matt brown, sometimes with a pair of very small pinnate pinnae 4-25 cm long at the base; basal scales castaneous, shiny, twisted, up to 40 mm long, apices tapering to a point, margins very narrow fragile bearing an obliquely spreading fringe. Lamina 0.9-3 m × 0.5-0.8 m, 3-pinnatifid to 3-pinnate, elliptic or oblong in outline, yellow-green above, slightly glaucus beneath. Pinnae 12-20 on each side of the rhachis, alternate and at an angle, largest pinnae 40-70 cm long, lower pinnae commonly slightly to much reduced. Ultimate lobes adnate along the costules, oblong, acute, somewhat falcate, margins entire to minutely lobed; costules and veins below with light brown hair-like scales. Sori up to 10 per lobe, round, cup-shaped, situated in 2 rows along each side of the costule; indusium cup-shaped, sometimes with small projections on the margin.


This species has a thick trunk and tendency to grow in full sun.


dregei: after Johann Franz Drège (1794-1881), German horticulturalist, botanical collector and explorer who worked extensively in South Africa.


Full sun along open streambanks in grassland, swamp edges, riverine forest, seepage grassland, pits in ironstone, occasionaly in scrub along mountain streams and forest edge.

Distribution worldwide

Africa, Madagascar.

Distribution in Africa

Angola, Burundi, Cameroon, Congo, Dem. Republic of Congo, Equatorial Guinea (incl. Bioko), Ghana, Guinea, Kenya, Lesotho, Liberia, Malawi, Mozambique, Nigeria, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania , Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe.

Growth form



  • Burrows, J.E. (1990) Southern African Ferns and Fern Allies. Frandsen, Sandton. Pages 84 - 86. (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 270 - 271. (Includes a picture).
  • Edwards, Peter J. (2005) Cyatheaceae. Flora of Tropical East Africa, Pages 8 - 9. (Includes a picture).
  • Jacobsen, W.B.G. (1983) The Ferns and Fern Allies of Southern Africa. Butterworths, Durban and Pretoria. Pages 201 - 202. As Alsophila (Kunze) Tryon (Includes a picture).
  • Kornas, J. (1979) Distribution and ecology of the Pteridophytes in Zambia. Polska Akademia Nauk Wydzial II Nauk Biologicznych. Pages 80 - 81.
  • Roux, J.P. (2001) Conspectus of Southern African Pteridophyta. Southern African Botanical Diversity Network Report, 13 Page 86. (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. Page 63. As Alsophila dregei (Kunze) R.M.Tyron
  • Schelpe, E.A.C.L.E. (1970) Pteridophyta. Flora Zambesiaca, 0 Page 74. (Includes a picture).