Arachniodes - Dryopteridaceae

Arachniodes webbiana (A. Braun) Schelpe ssp. foliosa (C. Chr.) Gibby

Photo: JE. Burrows
South Africa

Photo: P. Ballings

Photo: P. Ballings

Photo: P. Ballings

Photo: P. Ballings

Photo: P. Ballings

Photo: P. Ballings

Photo: P. Ballings






Dryopteris foliosa C.Chr.
Arachniodes foliosa (C. Chr.) Schelpe
Aspidium aristatum sensu Sim

Common name


Rhizome creeping, 60-90 cm long, up to 7 mm in diameter; rhizome scales brown, linear-attenuate, up to 6 mm long, margin entire. Fronds spaced, arching, subcoriaceous. Stipe up to 50 cm long, straw-coloured, with small hairpointed scales in the lower half, glabrous in the upper half. Lamina up to 60 × 50 cm (45 x 30 cm in F.T.E.A.), broadly ovate-triangular in outline, bipinnatifid at the apex to 3-4-pinnate towards the base, basal pinnae largest, basiscopically developed and almost as long as the rest of the lamina. Pinnule lobes narrowly rhombic, aristate, dark glossy green above, paler below. Lamina hairless, except for hairpointed scales along the costae, costules and veins below. Rhachis straw-coloured with scattered hairpointed brownish scales. Sori up to 1 mm in diameter, up to 10 per ultimate segment; indusia circular, membranous, entire, peltate, shed at maturity.


Can be recognised by the long basal pinnae which are almost as long as the lamina; the pinnae of this species are long and curved.


webbiana: named after Philip Barker Webb (1793-1854), English botanist; foliosa: leafy, referring to the much divided, herbaceous lamina.


Deeply shaded streambanks in forest, montane and intermediate forest with Podocarpus, bamboo, ...

Distribution worldwide

See African distribution.

Distribution in Africa

Kenya, Malawi, Rwanda, South Africa, Tanzania , Uganda, Zambia, Zambia.

Growth form

Lithophytic, terrestrial.


  • Burrows, J.E. (1990) Southern African Ferns and Fern Allies. Frandsen, Sandton. Pages 318 - 320. (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 468 - 469. (Includes a picture).
  • Jacobsen, W.B.G. (1983) The Ferns and Fern Allies of Southern Africa. Butterworths, Durban and Pretoria. Pages 450 - 451. (Includes a picture).
  • Kornas, J. (1979) Distribution and ecology of the Pteridophytes in Zambia. Polska Akademia Nauk Wydzial II Nauk Biologicznych. Pages 106 - 107.
  • 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 113.
  • Roux, J.P. (2001) Conspectus of Southern African Pteridophyta.Southern African Botanical Diversity Network Report, 13 Pages 127 - 128. (Includes a picture).
  • Roux, J.P.; Shaffer-Fehre, M. & Verdcourt, B. (2007) Dryopteridaceae.Flora of Tropical East Africa, Pages 49 - 51. (Includes a picture).
  • Schelpe, E.A.C.L.E. (1970) Pteridophyta.Flora Zambesiaca, 0 Pages 228 - 230. (Includes a picture).