Pleopeltis - Polypodiaceae

Pleopeltis macrocarpa (Bory ex Willd.) Kaulf.

Photo: BT. Wursten

Photo: P. Ballings

Photo: P. Ballings

Photo: P. Ballings

Photo: BT. Wursten

Photo: P. Ballings






Polypodium lanceolatum sensu Sim
Polypodium lepidotum Willd. ex Schltdl.
Polypodium adspersum Schrad.
Pleopeltis ensifolia Carmich. ex Hook
Polypodium macrocarpum Bory ex Willd.

Common name


Rhizome widely creeping, slender; rhizome scales lanceolate to ovate, peltate, brown with a darker central stripe and pale, lacerate margins, 2-3 mm long. Fronds spaced apart, simple, fleshy. Stipe up to 8 cm long, winged in the upper part, articulated to the rhizome, with a few scales with dark centre when young, becoming glabrous with age. Lamina evergreen, linear-lanceolate in outline, gradually tapering towards base and apex, margins entire to weakly wavy, up to 20 × 1.7 cm. Upper surface subglabrous, lower surface with several circular to lanceolate, peltate scales with dark centre and jagged margins. Sori round to oval, up to 5 mm in diameter, placed in 2 rows between costa and margin in the upper third to half of the lamina, exindusiate, covered with scale-like paraphyses when young.


Can be distinguished from Lepisorus schraderi and L. excavatus by the prominent scales set on the undersurface of the lamina. Microgramma mauritiana has sori set on the lower part of the lamina (not the upper) and is glabrous.


makros: large, karpon: fruit; referring to the large sori


Epiphyte or lithophyte in moist coastal, riverine and montane forest or in moist woodland and scrub, moderately to deeply shaded.

Distribution worldwide

Africa, tropical America, Hawaii, India, Réunion, Madagascar, St. Helena and Tristan da Cunha.

Distribution in Africa

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

Growth form

Epiphytic, lithophytic.


  • Crouch, N.R., Klopper, R.R., Burrows, J.E. & Burrows, S.M. (2011) Ferns of Southern Africa, A comprehensive guide. Struik Nature. Pages 568 - 569. (Includes a picture).
  • Jacobsen, W.B.G. (1983) The Ferns and Fern Allies of Southern Africa. Butterworths, Durban and Pretoria. Pages 309 - 310. (Includes a picture).
  • Kornas, J. (1979) Distribution and ecology of the Pteridophytes in Zambia. Polska Akademia Nauk Wydzial II Nauk Biologicznych. Page 78.
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  • 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 152 - 153. (Includes a picture).