Thelypteris - Thelypteridaceae

Thelypteris confluens (Thunb.) C.V. Morton






Nephrodium thelypteris sensu Sim
Dryopteris thelypteris sensu Sim

Common name


Rhizome long, creeping and branching, 2-3 mm in diameter; rhizome scales up to 2 mm long, dark brown, ovate, nonpersistent. Fronds spaced 1-5 cm apart, erect or arching, not proliferous, herbaceous. Stipe up to 40 cm long, pale brown, often blackened towards the base, subglabrous. Lamina up to 60 × 15 cm, lanceolate to elliptic in outline, deeply 2-pinnatifid, apex tapering to a point with a pinnatifid terminal segment, lower pinnae slightly reduced and widely spaced. Pinnae linear to oblong-lanceolate, deeply pinnatifid into oblong and rounded to triangular and acute ultimate lobes, margins entire; under surface of costae with or without hairs and with pale brown ovate scales, upper surface hairless; veins 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, 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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  • Crouch, N.R., Klopper, R.R., Burrows, J.E. & Burrows, S.M. (2011) Ferns of Southern Africa, A comprehensive guide. Struik Nature. Pages 672 - 673. (Includes a picture).
  • Jacobsen, W.B.G. (1983) The Ferns and Fern Allies of Southern Africa. Butterworths, Durban and Pretoria. Pages 395 - 396. (Includes a picture).
  • Kornas, J. (1979) Distribution and ecology of the Pteridophytes in Zambia. Polska Akademia Nauk Wydzial II Nauk Biologicznych. Pages 88 - 89.
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  • Roux, J.P. (2001) Conspectus of Southern African Pteridophyta. Southern African Botanical Diversity Network Report, 13 Page 117.
  • Schelpe, E.A.C.L.E. (1970) Pteridophyta. Flora Zambesiaca, 0 Pages 190 - 192. (Includes a picture).