Davallia - Davalliaceae

Davallia chaerophylloides (Poir.) Steud.

Photo: P. Ballings

Photo: BT. Wursten

Photo: BT. Wursten

Photo: BT. Wursten

Photo: P. Ballings






Davallia denticulata (Burm.f.) Mett. ex Kuhn var. intermedia Mett. ex Kuhn
Trichomanes chaerophylloides Poir.
Humata chaerophylloides (Poir.) Desv.
Davallia nitidula Kunze
Davallia vogelii Hook.

Common name


Rhizome stout, woody, widely creeping, up to 15 mm in diameter; rhizome scales pale golden brown, peltate, narrowly lanceolate, hairpointed, up to 8 mm long with paler margins. Fronds widely spaced, arching, thinly coriaceous. Stipe 4-50 cm long, firm, wiry, glabrous at maturity, with scales similar to those on the rhizome at the extreme base. Lamina 16-90 × 13-50 cm, 4- to 5-pinnatifid, ovate-triangular in outline. Pinnae alternate, with petiole up to 3 cm long, triangular to oblong in outline; basal pinnae largest and developed basiscopically, others progressively smaller upwards. Ultimate segments pinnatifid into spathulate to cuneate lobes, obtuse, glabrous, distal margins deeply toothed. Rhachis and secondary rhachis glabrous, slightly winged towards the apices. Sori up to 2 mm in diameter, solitary, terminal on segments and on vein ends, variously subtented by 1 or 2 blunt or sharp teeth, covered by a pouchlike membranous, entire indusia.


The combination of the finely divided fronds, the epiphytic or lithophytic habit and the cup-shaped sori separates this species from others.


chaerophylloides: like Chaerophyllum, a genus of the Apiaceae, whose finely divided leaves are not unlike those of this Davallia.


Moist and seasonally dry forest, mist forest, evergreen forest, saline and freshwater swamp forest, woodland.

Distribution worldwide

Africa, Comoro and Mascarene islands, Madagascar, Seychelles; also Madeira, continental Asia, Malesia to Australia, Samoa and Tahiti.

Distribution in Africa

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

Growth form

Epiphytic, lithophytic.


  • Burrows, J.E. (1990) Southern African Ferns and Fern Allies. Frandsen, Sandton. Pages 209 - 211. (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 532 - 533. (Includes a picture).
  • Jacobsen, W.B.G. (1983) The Ferns and Fern Allies of Southern Africa. Butterworths, Durban and Pretoria. Pages 327 - 328. (Includes a picture).
  • Lawalrée, A. (1993) Davalliaceae.Flore d' Afrique Centrale, Pages 2 - 5. (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. Page 107.
  • Roux, J.P. (2001) Conspectus of Southern African Pteridophyta.Southern African Botanical Diversity Network Report, 13 Page 110. As Davallia denticulata var. denticulata (Includes a picture).
  • Schelpe, E.A.C.L.E. (1970) Pteridophyta.Flora Zambesiaca, 0 Page 167. (Includes a picture).
  • Tardieu-Blot, M.-L. (1964) Ptéridophytes vol.3.Flore du Cameroun, Pages 118 - 119. (Includes a picture).
  • Thardieu-Blot, M.L. (1964) Ptéridophytes vol.8.Flore du Gabon, Pages 91 - 92.
  • Verdcourt, B. (1999) Davalliaceae.Flora Tropical East Africa, Pages 1 - 3. As Davallia denticulata (Burm.f.) Kuhn (Includes a picture).