Dryopteris - Dryopteridaceae

Dryopteris athamantica (Kunze) Kuntze

Photo: P. Ballings

Photo: P. Ballings

Photo: P. Ballings

Photo: P. Ballings

Photo: P. Ballings

Photo: P. Ballings

Photo: P. Ballings






Nephrodium athamanticum (Kunze) Hook.
Aspidium athamanticum Kunze
Lastrea athamantica (Kunze) T.Moore
Lastrea plantii T.Moore
Nephrodium eurylepium Peter

Common name


Rhizome creeping to suberect, up to 25 mm in diameter; rhizome scales reddish-brown, narrowly lanceolate to linear in outline, up to 22 x 2 mm, margins with or without filamentous outgrows. Fronds tufted, erect, rigid, subcoriaceous. Stipe stout, up to 54 x 1.4 cm, straw-coloured, darker towards the base, grooved, with scales similar to the rhizome towards the base. Lamina up to 78 × 27 cm, narrowly ovate-oblong to lanceolate in outline, 2-pinnate-pinnatifid to 3-pinnate-pinnatifid, basal pinnae hardly reduced. Pinnae up to 25 × 12 cm, up to 23 stalked pairs, usually forming an angle of less than 50° from the rhachis, narrowly triangular-oblong in outline, subglabrous on both surfaces. Pinnules narrowly oblong-lanceolate, deeply pinnatifid into oblong, obtuse ultimate lobes with shallowly crenate to subentire margins, up to 20 x 7 mm. Rhachis straw-coloured to greenish, narrowly winged towards the apex, with a few hair-like, reddish-brown scales. Sori round, discrete or touching, up to 1.6 mm in diameter at maturity, 1-3 per ultimate segment; indusia round to kidney-shaped, membranous, entire or slightly dentate, up to 1.7 mm in diameter.


Could be confused with the sun form of D. pentheri which has an ovate-triangular lamina, pinnae angled at 70-80° from the rhachis and pinnules that are ovate to round-oblong in outline.


athamantis: brightness; this may refer to the preference of this species for sunny open habitats.


Around boulder bases or at scrub margins in montane grassland, miombo woodland, in ditches, along roads, exposed areas in full sun.

Distribution worldwide

Tropical to subtropical Africa.

Distribution in Africa

Angola, Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Congo, Dem. Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Ghana, Guinea, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Lesotho, Liberia, Malawi, Mozambique, Nigeria, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Sudan and South Sudan, Swaziland, Tanzania , Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe.

Growth form

Lithophytic, terrestrial.


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