Megalastrum - Dryopteridaceae

Megalastrum lanuginosum (Willd. ex Kaulf.) Holttum

Photo: JE. Burrows
South Africa






Ctenitis lanuginosa (Willd. ex Kaulf.) Copel.
Nephrodium catopteron (Kunze) Hook.
Lastrea lanuginosa (Willd. ex Kaulf.) T.Moore
Aspidium odoratum Willd.
Aspidium lanuginosum Kaulf.
Polystichum lanuginosum (Kaulf.) Keyserl.

Common name


Rhizome erect, sometimes forming a caudex up to 45 cm high; rhizome scales up to 27 × 2 mm, subentire, golden-brown, linear. Fronds tufted, arching, thinly herbaceous, up to 2 m long. Stipe up to 100 cm long, dark auburn near base, strawcoloured or green above, with scales similar to the rhizome scales at the extreme base. Lamina broadly triangular in outline, deeply 2-pinnatifid above to 4-pinnatifid at the base, with basal pinnae largest and strongly basiscopically developed, up to 1.5 × 0.64 m. Pinnules oblong, acuminate, margins entire or shallowly lobed, slightly hairy on both surfaces, more so on the costae & costules and rhachis. Sori small, round, up to 2 mm in diameter; indusia kidney-shaped, brown, sparsely hairy to subglabrous.


The erect caudex, triangular 4-pinnatifid lamina and round sori separate this species from others.


lanuginosum: slightly wooly; alluding to the slightly hairy lamina of this fern.


Deep shade along streams in evergreen forests.

Distribution worldwide

Africa,also Comoro and Mascarene Islands, Madagascar, São Tomé.

Distribution in Africa

Equatorial Guinea (incl. Bioko), Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania , Zimbabwe.

Growth form



  • Burrows, J.E. (1990) Southern African Ferns and Fern Allies. Frandsen, Sandton. Page 324. As Ctenitis lanuginosa (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 490 - 491. (Includes a picture).
  • Jacobsen, W.B.G. (1983) The Ferns and Fern Allies of Southern Africa. Butterworths, Durban and Pretoria. Page 454. As Ctenitis lanuginosa (Includes a picture).
  • Roux, J.P. (2001) Conspectus of Southern African Pteridophyta.Southern African Botanical Diversity Network Report, 13 Page 135. (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 135 - 136.
  • Roux, J.P.; Shaffer-Fehre, M. & Verdcourt, B. (2007) Dryopteridaceae.Flora of Tropical East Africa, Pages 20 - 22. (Includes a picture).
  • Schelpe, E.A.C.L.E. (1970) Pteridophyta.Flora Zambesiaca, 0 Pages 232 - 233. As Ctenitis lanuginosa