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 in outline, 8–13 x 2–3 mm, apex tapering abruptly to a point, pale centre, pale fimbriate margins. Fronds tufted, coriaceous, erect. Stipe grooved, 8–29 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 dark green above, pale greyish green below, narrowly ovate or elliptic in outline, 20–40 x 8–18 cm, 1-pinnate. Pinnae 6–12 on each side of the rhachis, irregularly rhomboid-falcate, with a single blunt auricle, 4.7–8.5 x 2–2.5 cm, base cuneate on basiscopic side with acroscopic side truncate and auriculate, apex up-turned, tapering to a point, blunt, margin toothed; apical pinna equivalent to the other pinnae; 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 positioned on acroscopic free branch in areole, soral lines approximately parallel to longitudinal axis of pinna, 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

Ethiopia, Kenya, South Africa, Tanzania , Uganda.

Growth form

Epiphytic, lithophytic, terrestrial.


  • 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).