Pseudocyclosorus - Thelypteridaceae

Pseudocyclosorus pulcher (Willd.) Holttum

Photo: P. Ballings

Photo: P. Ballings

Photo: P. Ballings






Thelypteris longicuspis (Baker) Schelpe
Thelypteris pulchra (Bory ex Willd.) Schelpe
Pseudocyclosorus pulcher (Bory ex Willd.) Holttum
Aspidium pulchrum Willd.
Thelypteris zambesiaca (Bak.) Tardieu
Nephrodium zambesiacum Bak.
Dryopteris zambesiaca (Bak.) C.Chr.

Common name


Rhizome erect, sometimes forming a caudex up to c. 30 cm high, often covered with dead frond bases; rhizome scales up to 5 mm long, ovate, almost entire, apex pointed, light brown,. Fronds monomorphic, tufted, 0.8-2 (2.5) m long, arching, not proliferous, coriaceous. Stipe up to 70 cm long from the base to the first large pinnae, matt brown, thinly set with minute white hairs. Lamina up to 1.6 × 0.66 m, deeply 2-pinnatifid, abruptly decrescent towards the base into a long series of strongly reduced pinnae, lanceolate-oblong in outline, apex pointed; pinnae linear-oblong, largest pinnae 20-33 x 2-3.5 cm, ultimate lobes oblong, slightly falcate, margin entire, up to 1.8 x 0.4 cm, upper surface densely hairy along the costae with white hairs, sparsely on the veins, under surface sparsely glandular with scattered, pale hairs, veins up to 18 pairs, not meeting below or in the sinus; rhachis pale brown, hairless. Sori up to 25 per lobe, halfway between costule and margin, almost reaching the top of each lobe, round; indusia subcircular to reniform, lacerate, glandular.


Pseudocyclosorus pulcher look for: erect rhizome, basal pinnae abruptly reduced into a series of small vestigial pinnae, veins not meeting in or at the sinus.


pulcher: beautiful, handsome


Riverine forest, shaded moist forest floorsseasonally inundated bushland, lake and stream banks, swamp edges.

Distribution worldwide

Sudan, tropical Africa, S. Africa, Madagascar and the Mascarenes.

Distribution in Africa

Angola, Burundi, Cameroon, Congo, Dem. Republic of Congo, Equatorial Guinea (incl. Bioko), Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Nigeria, Rwanda, South Africa, Tanzania , Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe.

Growth form



  • Burrows, J.E. (1990) Southern African Ferns and Fern Allies. Frandsen, Sandton. Page 261. As Thelypteris pulchra (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 678 - 679. (Includes a picture).
  • Jacobsen, W.B.G. (1983) The Ferns and Fern Allies of Southern Africa. Butterworths, Durban and Pretoria. Pages 385 - 386. (Includes a picture).
  • Roux, J.P. (2001) Conspectus of Southern African Pteridophyta.Southern African Botanical Diversity Network Report, 13 Page 115.
  • 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 209.
  • Schelpe, E.A.C.L.E. (1970) Pteridophyta.Flora Zambesiaca, 0 Page 192. As Thelypteris longicuspis (Includes a picture).
  • Tardieu-Blot, M.-L. (1964) Ptéridophytes vol.3.Flore du Cameroun, Page 243.
  • Verdcourt, B (2006) Thelypteridaceae.Flora of Tropical East Africa, Pages 8 - 10. (Includes a picture).