Polystichum - Dryopteridaceae

Polystichum macleae (Baker) Diels

Photo: JE. Burrows
South Africa

Photo: JE. Burrows
South Africa






Aspidium macleae Baker

Common name


Rhizome erect or shortly creeping; rhizome scales midbrown, margins entire, lanceolate-linear in outline, apex gradually tapering to a point, up to 20 mm long. Fronds tufted. Stipe 20-55 cm long, strawcoloured, scales squarrose, pale brown, ovate in outline, with dark brown central band, denser and becoming darker towards the base. Lamina 18-60 x 9.5-24 cm, ovate to lanceolate-oblong in outline, pinnate. Pinnae linear-oblong in outline, apex gradually tapering to a point, bases unequally cuneate with a well-developed acroscopic basal auricle, both surfaces sparsely set with brown, fimbriate or ribbon-like scales, denser along the costae, margins toothed, sometimes doubly. Rhachis as for stipe but scales smaller and narrower. Sori circular, numerous, 0.75-1.5 mm in diameter; indusium circular, up to 0.5 mm in diameter.



macleae: named after J.H. McLea (1836-1878), Scottish horticulturist and plant collecter, founder of botanical gardens in Pretoria and in Graaff-Reinet.


Forest margins and floors in wet, evergreen forest; shaded ravines in high mountain grassland.

Distribution worldwide

See African distribution.

Distribution in Africa

South Africa, Swaziland.

Growth form



  • Burrows, J.E. (1990) Southern African Ferns and Fern Allies. Frandsen, Sandton. Pages 309 - 310. (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 450 - 451. (Includes a picture).
  • Jacobsen, W.B.G. (1983) The Ferns and Fern Allies of Southern Africa. Butterworths, Durban and Pretoria. Pages 443 - 444. As Polystichum macleaii (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 137.