Polystichum - Dryopteridaceae

Polystichum transkeiense W. Jacobsen

Photo: JE. Burrows
South Africa

Photo: JE. Burrows
South Africa






Common name


Rhizome creeping, 5-10 mm in diameter; rhizome scales 3-15 mm long, pale brown, sometimes dark towards the tip, apex gradually tapering to a point, margin entire to subentire. Fronds spaced 1-3.5 cm apart. Stipe 14-58 cm long, pale straw-coloured, sparsely set with pale brawn hair-tipped scales, c. 5 mm long, becoming glabrous with age. Lamina 25-65 x 24-31 cm, ovate in outline, 2 pinnate to deeply 3-pinnatifid, basal pair of pinnae somewhat reduced. Pinnules variable in outline, usually roughly rhombic, base asymmetrically cuneate, both surfaces glabrous to subglabrous but with a prominent scale at the base of each pinnule, basal margin entire, distal margins toothed. Rhachis rather thin, with a few brown hairlike scales, becoming glabrous with age. Sori round, 0.5-1.0 mm in diameter; indusium shed early and often appearing to be exindusiate.



transkeiense: from Transkei region in the Eastern Cape, where the type specimen was collected.


Deep shade in evergreen forest.

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. Page 310. (Includes a picture).
  • Burrows, J.E. (1990) Southern African Ferns and Fern Allies. Frandsen, Sandton. Pages 312 - 314. (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 452 - 453. (Includes a picture).
  • Jacobsen, W.B.G. (1983) The Ferns and Fern Allies of Southern Africa. Butterworths, Durban and Pretoria. Pages 445 - 447. (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 139.