Microsorum - Polypodiaceae

Microsorum punctatum (L.) Copel.

Photo: BT. Wursten

Photo: BT. Wursten

Photo: P. Ballings

Photo: BT. Wursten

Photo: BT. Wursten

Photo: P. Ballings

Photo: BT. Wursten
Dem. Republic of Congo






Polypodium iridoides Poir.
Phymatodes irioides (Poir) C. Presl
Microsorum irregulare Link.
Pleopeltis sessilis (Kaulf. ex Kunze) T.Moore
Acrostichum punctatum L.
Polypodium crassinerve Schumach.
Polypodium polycarpon Sw.

Common name


Rhizome shortly creeping, thick, c. 8 mm in diameter, embedded in a thick felt of roots; rhizome scales black, peltate, lanceolate in outline, entire, acuminate, up to 4 mm long. Fronds simple, spaced (to 1 cm apart), apparently tufted, rigid, glabrous, coriaceous. Stipe short to absent. Lamina up to 0.6-1.5 m x 7-11 cm, narrowly elliptic-oblong, margins entire to irregularly wavy, apex rounded to tapering to a point, gradually decrescent to a broadly or narrowly winged base, midrib raised on both sides; venation obscure, anastomising with included veinlets. Sori circular, minute, ± 1 mm in diameter, distributed irregularly on the undersurface of the fronds.



punctatum: dotted or marked with spots, referring to the minute sori which are irregularly distributed over the underside of the fertile fronds.


Seasonally dry to moist evergreen forest, evergreen thicket and by streams.

Distribution worldwide

Africa, Comoro Isl., Mascarene Isl., Madagascar, also tropical Asia, India, Vietnam, S. China, Taiwan and Malesia to Pacific Islands.

Distribution in Africa

Angola, Benin, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Congo, Dem. Republic of Congo, Equatorial Guinea (incl. Bioko), Ethiopia, Gabon, Ghana, Guinea, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Liberia, Malawi, Mozambique, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Tanzania , Uganda, Zimbabwe.

Growth form

Epiphytic, lithophytic, terrestrial.


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  • Crouch, N.R., Klopper, R.R., Burrows, J.E. & Burrows, S.M. (2011) Ferns of Southern Africa, A comprehensive guide. Struik Nature. Pages 550 - 551. (Includes a picture).
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  • Verdcourt, B. (2001) Polypodiaceae.Flora of Tropical East Africa, Pages 21 - 22. (Includes a picture).