Polystichum - Dryopteridaceae

Polystichum sinense (H.Christ) H.Christ






Polystichum wilsonii H.Christ
Aspidium prescottianum Hook. var. sinense H.Christ.
Polystichum lobatum (Huds.) Bastard var. ruwensoriense Pirotta
Polystichum fuscopaleaceum Alston
Polystichum aculeatum (L.) Roth. var. rubescens Bonap.
Polystichum setiferum (Forssk.) T.Moore var. fuscopaleaceum (Alston) schelpe
Polystichum alticola Schelpe & N.C.Anthony

Common name


Rhizome erect to suberect, to 13 cm long and up to 1 cm in diameter, rarely branched, with dense roots; rhizome scales to 12 x 1 mm long, margin finely toothed, reddish brown, linear, tapering to a point. Fronds tufted, to 1 m long, herbaceous. Stipe up to 45 cm long, pale brown, densely set with pale brown ovate scales, 13-23 x 7-9 mm, standing out almost at right angles, interspersed with smaller, pale hair-like scales. Lamina (33-)47-63 x 8-16 cm, lanceolate-linear to narrow elliptic in outline, 2-pinnate. Pinnae up to 29 on each side of the rhachis, with basal 2 or 3 pairs of pinnae slightly reduced, largest to 9 x 2 cm. Pinnule up to 12 free pairs per pinna, to 12 mm, margins aristate with aristae ± 1 mm long, basal basiscopic aristae folded in over the upper surface of the lamina; upper surface subglabrous, lower surface set with pale brown, twisted hair-like scales. Rhachis as for stipe, scales smaller and narrower. Sori round, c.1 mm in diameter; indusia pale brown, peltate, round, membranous, erose.



sinense: from China, the type specimen was collected in China.


Rock crevices, base boulders in montane grassland or scrub, Bamboo zone, Hagenia zone, heath zone and moorland, occasionally in moist forest.

Distribution worldwide

Africa, Grande Comore, Réunion, Asia, Japan, Taiwan.

Distribution in Africa

Cameroon, Dem. Republic of Congo, Equatorial Guinea (incl. Bioko), Ethiopia, Kenya, Lesotho, South Africa, Tanzania , Uganda, Zimbabwe.

Growth form

Lithophytic, terrestrial.


  • Burrows, J.E. (1990) Southern African Ferns and Fern Allies. Frandsen, Sandton. Page 317. As Polystichum alticola (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 464 - 465. (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. Pages 138 - 139.
  • Roux, J.P. (2001) Conspectus of Southern African Pteridophyta.Southern African Botanical Diversity Network Report, 13 Page 130. As Polystichum wilsonii (Includes a picture).
  • Roux, J.P.; Shaffer-Fehre, M. & Verdcourt, B. (2007) Dryopteridaceae.Flora of Tropical East Africa, Pages 30 - 32. As Polystichum wilsonii H.Christ. (Includes a picture).
  • Tardieu-Blot, M.-L. (1964) Ptéridophytes vol.3.Flore du Cameroun, Pages 257 - 258. (Includes a picture).