Pyrrosia - Polypodiaceae

Pyrrosia rhodesiana (C. Chr.) Schelpe

Photo: P. Ballings

Photo: P. Ballings

Photo: P. Ballings

Photo: P. Ballings

Photo: P. Ballings

Photo: P. Ballings






Cyclophorus rhodesianus C.Chr.
Cyclophorus oblanceolatus C.Chr.
Cyclophorus madagascariensis C.Chr.
Pyrrosia madagascariensis (C.Chr.) Schelpe

Common name


Rhizome shortly creeping, 1.3-3.6 mm in diameter; rhizome scales reddish-brown, shining, narrowly elliptic-lanceolate to oblanceolate, apex rounded to pointed, 4-9.7 x 0.6-1.6 mm, margins practically entire towards the apex, finely toothed towards the base. Fronds simple, spaced apart (0.5-3 cm), thick, coriaceous. Stipe badly defined, up to 8 cm long, broadening gradually into the lamina, covered with hairs simular to those on the lamina but glabrous with age. Lamina narrowly elliptic-lanceolate to oblanceolate to narrowly elliptic, 7-45 x 0.3-3 cm, apex sharply pointed to rounded, base tapering, margin entire, midrib slightly prominent on both surfaces; lamina covered with a dense coat of light brown, stellate hairs with slender arms of c. 1 mm long, upper surface soon becoming (sub)glabrous, stipe only much later. Sori c. 0.5 mm, apical or scattered over greater part of frond, hardly visible due to the dense tomentum.


Can be confused with Pyrrosia schimperiana which has fronds that are covered with more whitish hairs with short, flat arms.


rhodesiana: of Rhodesia; the type locality is from Zimbabwe, formely Rhodesia.


Semi-deciduous or evergreen forest on east- or south-facing slopes.

Distribution worldwide

See African distribution.

Distribution in Africa

Malawi, Mozambique, Tanzania , Uganda, Zimbabwe.

Growth form

Epiphytic, lithophytic.


  • Burrows, J.E. (1990) Southern African Ferns and Fern Allies. Frandsen, Sandton. Pages 191 - 192. (Includes a picture).
  • Jacobsen, W.B.G. (1983) The Ferns and Fern Allies of Southern Africa. Butterworths, Durban and Pretoria. Page 304. (Includes a picture).
  • Roux, J.P. (2001) Conspectus of Southern African Pteridophyta.Southern African Botanical Diversity Network Report, 13 Pages 97 - 98.
  • 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 165.
  • Schelpe, E.A.C.L.E. (1970) Pteridophyta.Flora Zambesiaca, 0 Page 147. (Includes a picture).
  • Verdcourt, B. (2001) Polypodiaceae.Flora of Tropical East Africa, Pages 9 - 10.