Dryopteris - Dryopteridaceae

Dryopteris antarctica (Baker) C. Chr.






Dryopteris callolepis C.Chr.
Nephrodium antarcticum Baker

Common name


Rhizome erect to suberect, short, closely branched, up to 1 cm in diameter; rhizome scales ferrugineous to pale brown, often bicolorous, up to 9 x 3 mm, lanceolate in outline, margin subentire. Fronds tufted, arching, herbaceous. Stipe up to 40 x 0.45 cm, straw-coloured, darker near the base, with scales similar to rhizome but often with a dark brown centre. Lamina up to 65 × 35 cm, 3-pinnatifid to 3-pinnate, ovate to lanceolate in outline. Pinnae in up to 17 pairs, up to 85 x 15 cm, stalked, narrowly ovate to oblong in outline, apex tapering to a point, basal pinnae unequally triangular with the basiscopic pinnules much larger. Ultimate lobes narrowly ovate to oblong-obtuse, up to 18 x 9 mm, upper surface hairless or with sparse glands along the veins, lower surface sparsely to moderately set with glands, often also with hairs and sparse scales, margins deeply serrate-aristate. Rhachis greenish to straw-coloured, narrowly winged towards the apex, often set with glands and with a few pale brown scales similar to those on the stipe, up to 4 x 2 mm. Sori, round, discrete at maturity, up to 1.2 mm in diameter, 1-4 per lobe; indusium brown, entire to erose, subcircular to kidney-shaped, up to 1.2 mm in diameter, often glandular along the margin.


Can be seperated from other species by the sharply serrate-aristate lobe margins, and basal pinnae that are the largest and basiscopically developed. It is restricted to higher areas


antarticus: of the South Pole region, beyond 45° S; type specimen was collected on the Island of St. Paul.


Moorlands, montane grasslands, giant heath zone and bamboo zone, shaded forest floors, base of cliffs, among boulders.

Distribution worldwide

Africa, Réunion, St. Paul Island, Amsterdam Isl. in the South Atlantic.

Distribution in Africa

Dem. Republic of Congo, Kenya, Malawi, Rwanda, South Africa, Tanzania , Uganda, Zimbabwe.

Growth form

Lithophytic, terrestrial.


  • Burrows, J.E. (1990) Southern African Ferns and Fern Allies. Frandsen, Sandton. Page 304. (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 480 - 481. (Includes a picture).
  • Jacobsen, W.B.G. (1983) The Ferns and Fern Allies of Southern Africa. Butterworths, Durban and Pretoria. Pages 439 - 440. As Dryopteris callolepis (Includes a picture).
  • 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 120.
  • Roux, J.P. (2001) Conspectus of Southern African Pteridophyta.Southern African Botanical Diversity Network Report, 13 Page 127.
  • Roux, J.P.; Shaffer-Fehre, M. & Verdcourt, B. (2007) Dryopteridaceae.Flora of Tropical East Africa, Page 37.
  • Schelpe, E.A.C.L.E. (1970) Pteridophyta.Flora Zambesiaca, 0 Page 223. As Dryopteris callolepis