Arthropteris - Tectariaceae

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

Photo: BT. Wursten
Mozambique

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.

Common name

Msasa fern

Description

Rhizome widely creeping, up to 3 mm in diameter; rhizome scales dark brown, peltate, broadly ovate to circular, entire, up to 1.5 mm long. Stipe up to 25 cm long, articulated in upper half, pale matt brown, glabrous or with occasional pale brown scales, up to c. 1 mm long. Fronds spaced, erect, seldom arching, herbaceous to thinly coriaceous, scented. Lamina up to 11-40 × 5.5-17 cm, lanceolate-oblong in outline, deeply 2-pinnatifid. Pinnae up to 9.5 × 1.8 cm, opposite to alternate, basal pinnae possibly somewhat reduced, sessile, lanceolate in outline, articulated; ultimate lobes oblong, apex rounded, entire to shallowly crenate margins, thinly pubescent denser on costae and costules, white dots usually present at the end of the veins on the upper pinna surface. Sori circular, up to 9 per lobe borne about halfway between the costules and the margin; indusium c.0.6 mm in diameter, glabrous, 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.

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. (2009) Synopsis of the Lycopodiophyta and Pteridophyta of Africa, Madagascar and neighbouring islands. Strelitzia 23, South African National Biodiversity Institute, Pretoria. Pages 192 - 193.
  • Roux, J.P. (2001) Conspectus of Southern African Pteridophyta. Southern African Botanical Diversity Network Report, 13 Page 143.
  • Schelpe, E.A.C.L.E. (1970) Pteridophyta. Flora Zambesiaca, 0 Pages 163 - 165.
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