Cyrtomium - Dryopteridaceae

Cyrtomium micropterum (Kuntze) Ching






Aspidium anomophyllum Zenker f. micropterum Kunze
Cyrtomium caryotideum (Wall. ex Hook. & Grev.) Copel. var. micropterum (Kunze) C. Chr.
Phanerophlebia caryotidea (Wall. ex Hook. & Grev.) Copel. var. micropteris Tardieu

Common name


Rhizome erect, to 6 cm high; rhizome scales shiny dark brown, ovate-lanceolate in outline, 8–13 x 2–3 mm, apex tapering abruptly to a point, pale centre, pale fimbriate margins. Fronds monomorphic, tufted, erect to arching, coriaceous. Stipe grooved, 8–30 cm long, with pale brown scales 8–15 x 1.5–3 mm, irregularly fimbriate, denser on sterile fronds, less dense on fertile fronds. Lamina pinnate, narrowly ovate or elliptic in outline, 20–45 x 8–18 cm, dark green above, pale greyish green below; pinnae 6–12 on each side of the rhachis, 4.7–8.5 x 2–2.5 cm, irregularly rhomboid-falcate, with a single blunt auricle, base cuneate on basiscopic side with acroscopic side truncate and uriculate, apex up-turned, tapering to a point, blunt, margin toothed; apical pinna equivalent to the other pinnae, glabrous on both surfacesbut with a few brown hair-like scales on the costa below; veins anastomosing regularly, forming 2–3 ± parallel zones of areoles, traversed by pinnate veins, on periphery free veinlets reach serrate points but not margin; rhachis below with sparse fimbriate scales, denser around stalks of pinnae. Sori ± regularly scattered over the undersurface of the pinnae, circular, 0.3–2 mm in diameter; indusium an ephemeral dark rust-red funnel-forming peltate stalk 0.25 mm, opening into highly dissected umbrella shape ± 1.8 mm in diameter; on dehiscing, peltate funnel-stalk detaches like plug from receptacle.



micropteris: small fern.


Deeply shaded ravines or on mountain slopes in moist forest, dry forest along the river, plantation, on dry shady rock.

Distribution worldwide

Africa, Madagascar to southern China and southern India.

Distribution in Africa

Cameroon, Ethiopia, Kenya, South Africa, Tanzania , Uganda.

Growth form

Epiphytic, lithophytic, terrestrial.


  • Burrows, J.E. (1990) Southern African Ferns and Fern Allies. Frandsen, Sandton. Pages 325 - 326. (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 446 - 447. (Includes a picture).
  • Jacobsen, W.B.G. (1983) The Ferns and Fern Allies of Southern Africa. Butterworths, Durban and Pretoria. Pages 455 - 456. As Phanerophlebia caryotidea var. micropteris (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. Page 119.
  • Roux, J.P.; Shaffer-Fehre, M. & Verdcourt, B. (2007) Dryopteridaceae.Flora of Tropical East Africa, Pages 24 - 26. As Cyrtomium caryotideum var. micropterum (Includes a picture).
  • Tardieu-Blot, M.-L. (1964) Ptéridophytes vol.3.Flore du Cameroun, Page 256. (Includes a picture).