Pyrrosia - Polypodiaceae

Pyrrosia africana (Kunze) F.Ballard






Niphobolus africanus Kunze
Cyclophorus africanus (Kunze) C.Chr.
Gyrosorium africanum (Kunze) C.Presl.
Polypodium africanum (Kunze) Mett.

Common name


Rhizome shortly creeping, 3-4 mm in diameter; rhizome scales brown, ovate-lanceolate in outline, lacerate, up to 8 x 3 mm. Fronds simple, closely spaced (up to 1.4 cm apart), arching to pendulous, thickly coriaceous to fleshy. Stipe absent or up to 2.6 cm long, densely covered with hairs when young, becoming hairless with age. Lamina lanceolate, elliptic or narrowly ablonceolate in outline, apex tapering, pointed to sharply rounded, base narrowly tapering, 5-45 x 1-4.6 cm, upper surface sparsely hairy when young, becoming dark green, glossy, hairless with age, undersurface densely set with a fine white cover of stellate scales with thin hairlike arms up to 0.9 mm long, margins entire; midrib obscure above, somewhat visible below. Sori round, up to 0.5 mm in diameter, abundant in the apical third to half of the frond, emergent through the hairs.


Occurrence in Mozambique based on a single record from southern Mozambique!


africanus: of Africa, misleading the species does not occur all over Africa but the distribution is largely restricted to South Africa.


Scrub or evergreen coastal forest.

Distribution worldwide

See African distribution.

Distribution in Africa

Mozambique, South Africa.

Growth form

Epiphytic, lithophytic.


  • Burrows, J.E. (1990) Southern African Ferns and Fern Allies. Frandsen, Sandton. Page 192. (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 546 - 547. (Includes a picture).
  • Jacobsen, W.B.G. (1983) The Ferns and Fern Allies of Southern Africa. Butterworths, Durban and Pretoria. Pages 303 - 304. (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 164.