Christella - Thelypteridaceae

Christella gueinziana (Mett.) Holttum

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 up to 4 mm long, brown, broadly lanceolate, entire. Fronds tufted, arching, not proliferous, herbaceous to subcoriaceous. Stipe up to 50 cm long, pale brown, thinly set with minute white hairs and with brown scales near the base. Lamina up to 1.2 × 0.45 m but average half this size, ovate-lanceolate in outline, 2-pinnatifid, basal pinnae gradually reduced and deflexed but not forming a series of much-reduced pinnae down the stipe. Pinnae narrowly oblong, attenuate, pinnatifid, ultimate lobes narrowly oblong, slightly falcate, apex acute to sharply rounded; 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 subcircular to kidney-shaped with slender white hairs.


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

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