Christella - Thelypteridaceae

Christella friesii (Brause) Holttum






Thelypteris friesii (Brause) Schelpe
Dryopteris friesii Brause

Common name


Rhizome short creeping; rhizome scales lanceolate in outline, apex pointed, margin entire, up to 4.5 mm long, dark brown. Fronds monomorphic, closely spaced, erect, not proliferous, firmly membranous. Stipe 24-38 (85) cm long, pale brown, thinly set with minute white hairs. Lamina deeply 2-pinnatifid, narrowly oblong to roughly lanceolate in outline, apex acute, basal 2 pairs of pinnae slightly reduced, then abruptly ending in a long series of much reduced pinnae, often less than 2 cm long, up to 1.7 × 0.6 m; pinnae linear-lanceolate in outline, apex tapering to a point, base truncate; ultimate lobes narrowly linear-oblong in outline, apex pointed, falcate, margins entire to lobed, upper surface with hairs along the veins, costules and costae, lower surface hairs along the costae; veins not meeting below the sinus; rhachis strawcoloured to pale brown, finely covered with short hairs. Sori round, up to 20 per lobe; indusia c. 0.5- 1 mm in diameter, circular to kidney-shaped with a few to many white hairs or entirely lacking.


C. friesii look for: creeping rhizome, veins not meeting below the sinus between the pinna lobes, stipe with a series of much reduced pinnae.


friesii: named after R.E. Fries, Swedish botanist and editor of Botanik 1 (1914), who collected this species for the first time in Zambia in 1911.


Streambanks in light shade of evergreen forest, swamps with sedges.

Distribution worldwide

See African distribution.

Distribution in Africa

Angola, Cameroon, Congo, Dem. Republic of Congo, Kenya, Malawi, Tanzania , Zambia, Zimbabwe.

Growth form



  • Burrows, J.E. (1990) Southern African Ferns and Fern Allies. Frandsen, Sandton. Pages 260 - 261. As Thelypteris friesii (Includes a picture).
  • Jacobsen, W.B.G. (1983) The Ferns and Fern Allies of Southern Africa. Butterworths, Durban and Pretoria. Pages 389 - 390. (Includes a picture).
  • Kornas, J. (1979) Distribution and ecology of the Pteridophytes in Zambia. Polska Akademia Nauk Wydzial II Nauk Biologicznych. Pages 90 - 91. As Thelypteris friesii
  • 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 203.
  • Roux, J.P. (2001) Conspectus of Southern African Pteridophyta.Southern African Botanical Diversity Network Report, 13 Page 121.
  • Schelpe, E.A.C.L.E. (1970) Pteridophyta.Flora Zambesiaca, 0 Pages 192 - 193. As Thelypteris friesii
  • Verdcourt, B (2006) Thelypteridaceae.Flora of Tropical East Africa, Page 15. (Includes a picture).