Polystichum - Dryopteridaceae

Polystichum pungens (Kaulf.) C.Presl






Aspidium pungens Kaulf.
Dryopteris pungens (Kaulf.) Kuntze

Common name


Rhizome creeping, 8-20 mm in diameter; rhizome scales up to 15 mm long, lanciolate in outline, reddish brown, margin with small tooth. Fronds closely spaced, arching. Stipe pale-brown, 25-40 cm long, with pale reddish, concolorous scales up to 15 mm long, particularly towards the base. Lamina roughly ovate in outline, 2-pinnate, with basal pinnae pair somewhat reduced, 40-60 × 26-40 cm. Pinnules asymmetrically lanceolate in outline with a developed acroscopic basal lobe, slightly falcate, venation apparent on both surfaces, hairless above, with a few hair-like scales along the veins and costules below, margins toothed, each tooth ending in a sharp bristlelike appendage. Rhachis lightly set with twisted hairlike scales, interspersed with a few pale, bullate, ovate scales commonly situated at the base of each pinnulerust-coloured scales. Sori round; indusia entire to slightly irregular, peltate with the central portion usually blackish, c. 1 mm in diameter.



pungens: ending in a hard, sharp point, a reference to the sharp hairs along the pinnule margin.


Forest floor.

Distribution worldwide

See African distribution.

Distribution in Africa

South Africa, Swaziland.

Growth form



  • Crouch, N.R., Klopper, R.R., Burrows, J.E. & Burrows, S.M. (2011) Ferns of Southern Africa, A comprehensive guide. Struik Nature. Pages 454 - 455. (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 138.