Pleopeltis - Polypodiaceae

Pleopeltis polypodioides (L.) E.G.Andrews & Windham ssp. ecklonii (Kunze) J.P.Roux

Photo: P. Ballings

Photo: BT. Wursten

Photo: P. Ballings

Photo: P. Ballings

Photo: P. Ballings

Photo: P. Ballings






Polypodium incanum sensu Sim
Polypodium polypodioides (L.) Watt subsp. ecklonii (Kunze) Schelpe
Polypodium ecklonii Kunze
Polypodium polypodioides sensu Sim

Common name


Rhizome long creeping, slender, C. 2 mm in diameter; rhizome scales dark brown, lanceolate, entire, appressed, c. 3mm long, with a dark area at the base. Fronds spaced apart (± 1 cm apart). Stipe up to 13 cm long; scales on stipe ovate, dark brown with pale margins, appressed, up to 2 mm long. Lamina up to 21 × 6.5 cm, lanceolate oblong to oblong-deltate in outline, pinnate to pinnatifid to near the midrib; lobes up to 2.5 x 0.4 cm, linear to narrowly oblong, entire, base broadly adnate, apex rounded: upper surface glabrous, lower surface set with round to broadly lanceolate, entire, peltate scales, c. 1 mm, grey to pale creamy brown with a dark centre; veins obscure, anastomising or free with terminal hydathodes. Sori round to oval, up to 12 per lobe, up to 1.5 mm in diameter, submarginal but protuding beyond the margin at maturity, produced in the upper half of the lobe, exindusiate, without paraphyses.


Can be set aside from similar species by the peltate scales that are set on the undersurface of the pinate-pinnatifid lamina.


polypodioides: like Polypodium, ecklonii: named after C.F. Ecklon (1795-1868), a botanist whom collected in the Cape in South Africa during the 1830s.


Higher-rainfall areas in mist forest, low-altitude semideciduous forest and woodland.

Distribution worldwide

See African distribution.

Distribution in Africa

Ethiopia, Malawi, Mozambique, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania , Zimbabwe.

Growth form

Epiphytic, lithophytic.


  • Burrows, J.E. (1990) Southern African Ferns and Fern Allies. Frandsen, Sandton. Page 194. As Polypodium polypodioides subsp. ecklonii (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 566 - 567. (Includes a picture).
  • Jacobsen, W.B.G. (1983) The Ferns and Fern Allies of Southern Africa. Butterworths, Durban and Pretoria. Pages 318 - 319. As Polypodium polypodioides subsp. ecklonii (Includes a picture).
  • Roux, J.P. (2001) Conspectus of Southern African Pteridophyta.Southern African Botanical Diversity Network Report, 13 Pages 102 - 103. As Polypodium polypodioides subsp. ecklonii
  • 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 163.
  • Schelpe, E.A.C.L.E. (1970) Pteridophyta.Flora Zambesiaca, 0 Pages 158 - 159. As Polypodium polypodioides subsp. ecklonii
  • Verdcourt, B. (2001) Polypodiaceae.Flora of Tropical East Africa, Pages 31 - 32. (Includes a picture).