Christella - Thelypteridaceae

Christella gueinziana (Mett.) Holttum

Photo: P. Ballings

Photo: P. Ballings

Photo: P. Ballings

Photo: P. Ballings

Photo: P. Ballings

Photo: P. Ballings

Photo: P. Ballings

Photo: P. Ballings






Thelypteris gueinziana (Mett.) Schelpe
Aspidium gueinziana Mett.
Nephrodium gueinzianum (Mett.) Hieron
Lastrea gueinziana (Mett.) T.Moore
Dryopteris gueinziana (Mett.) C.Chr.

Common name


Rhizome erect, c. 20 mm in diameter; rhizome scales broadly lanceolate to ovate in outline, apex pointed, margin entire, up to 4 mm long, brown. Fronds monomorphic, tufted, arching, not proliferous, herbaceous to subcoriaceous. Stipe 30-50 cm long, pale brown, thinly set with minute white hairs and with brown scales near the base. Lamina 2-pinnatifid, ovate-lanceolate in outline, basal pinnae gradually reduced and deflexed but not forming a series of much-reduced pinnae down the stipe, up to 1.2 × 0.45 m but average half this size; pinnae narrowly oblong in outline, apex long tapering to a point, pinnatifid; ultimate lobes narrowly oblong in outline, slightly falcate, apex pointed to sharply rounded, 4-12 x 2-3.5 mm, both surfaces thinly set with hairs, more so along the costae and costules; veins 1 pair meeting in the sinus between the lobes; rhachis pale brown, thinly pilose. Sori round, up to 16 per lobe; indusia 0.7 mm in diameter, subcircular to kidney-shaped with slender white hairs or sometimes almost hairless.


Christella guenziana closely resembles C. chaseana but the latter has a creeping rhizome.
C. gueinziana look for: erect rhizome, basal pinnae reducing, 1 pair of veins meeting at the sinus.


gueinziana: named after Wilhelm Gueinzius (1814-1874), German apothecary and naturalist in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa


Shaded or exposed stream- and riverbanks in open grassland and forest.

Distribution worldwide

Africa, Madagascar, possibly St. Helena.

Distribution in Africa

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

Growth form

Lithophytic, terrestrial.


  • Burrows, J.E. (1990) Southern African Ferns and Fern Allies. Frandsen, Sandton. Page 266. As Thelypteris gueinziana (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 692 - 693. (Includes a picture).
  • Jacobsen, W.B.G. (1983) The Ferns and Fern Allies of Southern Africa. Butterworths, Durban and Pretoria. Pages 391 - 392. (Includes a picture).
  • Kornas, J. (1979) Distribution and ecology of the Pteridophytes in Zambia. Polska Akademia Nauk Wydzial II Nauk Biologicznych. Page 91. As Thelypteris gueinziana
  • 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 Page 194. As Thelypteris gueinziana
  • Verdcourt, B (2006) Thelypteridaceae.Flora of Tropical East Africa, Page 17.