Pyrrosia - Polypodiaceae

Pyrrosia lanceolata (L.) Farw.






Acrostichum lanceolatum L.
Cyclophorus lanceolatus (L.) Alston
Candollea lanceolata (L.) Mirb.
Polypodium spissum Willd.
Niphobolus spissus (Willd.) Kaulf. var. continentalis Hieron.
Niphobolus tener Giesenh.

Common name


Rhizome slender, widely creeping, 1.2-2.1 mm in diameter; rhizome scales pale brown to grey, linear to lanceolate in outline, ciliate, 1-8 x 0.3-1.3 mm. Fronds spaced apart (1-2 cm), stipitate, coriaceous, moderately to distinctly dimorphic. Stipe 0.5-5 cm long, densely covered with soft hairs when young, glabrous later. Lamina 2-31 × 0.3-3.5 cm, simple, linear-lanceolate to linear-elliptic, apex pointed to rounded, base wedge-shaped to tapering, margins narrowly reflexed; lower surface densely covered with soft, appressed, grey to brown stellate hairs with short arms, upper surface sparsely covered to more or less hairless. Sori numerous, oval, up to 1 mm long, confined to the upper half of the frond, emerging through the hairs.


Can be distinguished from other Pyrrosia species by its narrower fronds bearing stellate hairs with short, flattened arms, and the slender, widely creeping rhizome with fronds spaced wider apart (up to 4 cm) bearing ciliate scales.


lanceolata: lanceolate, referring to the outline of the fronds, a rather meaningless epithet as it applies to practically all the species of the genus.


Brachystegia woodland or in low-altitude riverine forest, evergreen forest.

Distribution worldwide

Africa, Madagascar, Mauritius, Principe, Réunion, Rodrigues Isl.; also from India to China, Indo-China, Malesia, Australia and Pacific.

Distribution in Africa

Cameroon, Central African Republic, Congo, Dem. Republic of Congo, Gabon, Mozambique, Tanzania , Uganda, Zimbabwe.

Growth form

Epiphytic, lithophytic.


  • Burrows, J.E. (1990) Southern African Ferns and Fern Allies. Frandsen, Sandton. Pages 189 - 190. (Includes a picture).
  • Jacobsen, W.B.G. (1983) The Ferns and Fern Allies of Southern Africa. Butterworths, Durban and Pretoria. Pages 305 - 306. (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 164 - 165.
  • Schelpe, E.A.C.L.E. (1970) Pteridophyta.Flora Zambesiaca, 0 Pages 146 - 147.
  • Tardieu-Blot, M.-L. (1964) Ptéridophytes vol.3.Flore du Cameroun, Page 340.
  • Thardieu-Blot, M.L. (1964) Ptéridophytes vol.8.Flore du Gabon, Page 201.
  • Verdcourt, B. (2001) Polypodiaceae.Flora of Tropical East Africa, Pages 10 - 11.