Arthropteris - Tectariaceae

Arthropteris orientalis (J.F.Gmel.) Posth.

Photo: P. Ballings
Zimbabwe

Photo: P. Ballings
Mozambique

Photo: P. Ballings
Mozambique

Photo: P. Ballings
Mozambique

Photo: P. Ballings
Mozambique

Photo: P. Ballings
Zimbabwe

Photo: P. Ballings
Zimbabwe

 

 

 

 

Synonyms

Polypodium orientale J.F.Gmel.
Nephrodium albopunctatum (Bory ex Willd.) Desv.
Aspidium thonningii Schumach.
Dryopteris orientalis (J.F.Gmel.) C.Chr.
Nephrodium wilsonii Baker
Dryopteris wilsonii (Baker) C.Chr.

Common name

Msasa fern

Description

Rhizome widely creeping, up to 3(-5) mm in diameter; rhizome scales broadly ovate to circular in outline, peltate, margins entire, up to 1.5 mm long, dark brown. Fronds monomorphic, spaced, erect, seldom arching, herbaceous to thinly coriaceous, scented. Stipe up to 26 cm long, articulated in upper half, pale matt brown, glabrous or with occasional pale brown scales, up to c. 1 mm long. Lamina deeply 2-pinnatifid, lanceolate-oblong in outline, apex tapering to a point, basal pinnae somewhat or not reduced, up to 11-40 × 5.5-17 cm; pinnae opposite to alternate, sessile, lanceolate to narrowly oblong in outline, base broadly cuneate, articulated, up to 9.5 × 1.8 cm; ultimate lobes oblong in outline, apex rounded, entire to shallowly crenate margins, up to 9 x 2.5 mm, thinly pubescent denser on costae and costules, white dots usually present at the end of the veins on the upper pinna surface; rhachis strawcoloured to dark brown, densely set with minute white hairs. Sori up to 9 per lobe borne about halfway between the costules and the margin, circular, c. 1 mm in diameter; indusium c.0.6 mm in diameter, hairless, entire.

Notes

A common and attractive fern in rocky Brachystegia woodland, where it forms large patches. The fronds shrivel up in the dry season and new green fronds appear in the rainy season.
Looks very much like A. monocarpa which has a stipe that is articulated in the lower half and is lacking the row of white dots near the margins on the upper surface of the pinna lobes. A. orientalis is a woodland species while A. monocarpa is a forest fern.

Derivation

orientalis: oriental, eastern; first described from Yemen, it was originally thought to be a plant from the East and named accordingly.

Habitat

Amongst rocks in open deciduous woodland, in dappled shade, in seasonally wet grassland with scattered trees.

Distribution worldwide

Africa, Yemen, Réunion, Madagascar and Mauritius.

Distribution in Africa

Angola, Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Congo, Dem. Republic of Congo, Equatorial Guinea (incl. Bioko), Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gabon, Ghana, Guinea, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Liberia, Malawi, Mozambique, Nigeria, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, Sudan and South Sudan, Tanzania , Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe.

Growth form

Lithophytic, terrestrial.

Literature

  • Burrows, J.E. (1990) Southern African Ferns and Fern Allies. Frandsen, Sandton. Pages 207 - 208. (Includes a picture).
  • Jacobsen, W.B.G. (1983) The Ferns and Fern Allies of Southern Africa. Butterworths, Durban and Pretoria. Pages 325 - 326. (Includes a picture).
  • Kornas, J. (1979) Distribution and ecology of the Pteridophytes in Zambia. Polska Akademia Nauk Wydzial II Nauk Biologicznych. Pages 114 - 116.
  • Roux, J.P. (2001) Conspectus of Southern African Pteridophyta. Southern African Botanical Diversity Network Report, 13 Page 143.
  • 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 192 - 193.
  • Schelpe, E.A.C.L.E. (1970) Pteridophyta. Flora Zambesiaca, 0 Pages 163 - 165.
  • Verdcourt, B. (2001) Oleandraceae. Flora of Tropical East Africa, Pages 10 - 12.
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