Thelypteris - Thelypteridaceae

Thelypteris confluens (Thunb.) C.V. Morton

Photo: P. Ballings

Photo: P. Ballings

Photo: P. Ballings

Photo: P. Ballings

Photo: P. Ballings

Photo: P. Ballings

Photo: P. Ballings






Nephrodium thelypteris sensu Sim
Dryopteris thelypteris sensu Sim
Pteris confluens Thunb.
Aspidium thelypteris Sw. var. squamigera Schltd.
Thelypteris squamigera (Schltdl.) Ching

Common name


Rhizome long, creeping and branching, 2-3 mm in diameter; rhizome scales ovate in outline, margin somewhat wavy, up to 2 mm long, dark brown, nonpersistent. Fronds monomorphic, spaced 1-5 cm apart, erect or arching, up to c. 1m tall, not proliferous, herbaceous. Stipe up to 50 cm long, pale brown, often blackened towards the base, subglabrous. Lamina deeply 2-pinnatifid, up to 60 × 21 cm, lanceolate to elliptic in outline, apex tapering to a point with a pinnatifid terminal segment, lower pinnae slightly reduced and widely spaced; pinnae linear to oblong-lanceolate in outline, deeply pinnatifid into oblong and rounded to triangular and acute ultimate lobes, margins entire; under surface glabrous, glandular or thinly pilose and with pale brown ovate scales along the costa, upper surface hairless; veins forked or often simple, not meeting the veins of the adjacent lobes; rhachis pale brown, hairless. Sori up to 18 per lobe, round, situated halfway between the costa and the margin; indusia kidney-shaped, membranous, hairless or with short marginal hairs.


Found together with Cyclosorus interruptus which has a zigzag soral pattern, one pair of veins meeting below and a pair of veins meeting at the sinus, leathery pinnae that are incised a third to halfway to the costa.
Thelypteris confluens look for: creeping rhizome, veins not anastomosing, small scales on costae below, pinnae herbaceous and pinnatifid.


confluens: converging, running together; may be a reference to the intertwined rhizomes that give rise to extented, densely clustered stands.


In full sun or light shade of marshy areas with perennial surface water.

Distribution worldwide

Africa, Madagascar, southern India, Thailand, Sumatra, Papua New Guinea, Australia, New Zealand.

Distribution in Africa

Angola, Botswana, Burundi, Cameroon, Congo, Dem. Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, Rwanda, South Africa, Sudan and South Sudan, Swaziland, Tanzania , Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe.

Growth form



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