Actiniopteris - Pteridaceae

Actiniopteris semiflabellata Pic.Serm.






Common name


Scales of the rhizome of two kinds, entirely light chestnut, or with a narrow thick black shining central stripe and broad light chestnut edges. Fronds after their death becoming dry and having the lamina more or less turned to one side owing to a slight gradual bend of the lamina in its lower part and of the stipe in its upper part. Fertile fronds up to 45 cm long. Stipe 1.5–2.5 times as long as the lamina, sparsely scaly. Lamina broadly cuneate to broadly obdeltoid with edges forming an angle of 55–70°, without a median notch, and consisting of a 4–(5) times dichotomous branch system. Branches of the first dichotomy unequal (8.5 and ± 7 mm) forming an angle of about 18–25°; branches of the second dichotomy unequal, the inner (± 8 mm) longer than the outer (± 5 mm); all the dichotomies being in the lower half of the lamina. Segments of the blade 10–25, narrowly ensiform, straight, tapering upwards, ending in a single hardened very sharp point, sometimes bordered by two or three small teeth. Basal part of the lamina glabrous above and sparsely scaly beneath. Scales light dull orange, straight to slightly twisted, narrowly lanceolate in outline, sparsely and coarsely toothed at the base, piliferous at the apex.




Crevices in limestone, granite and lava rocks in open bushland and woodland, also dry evergreen forest and derived scrub.

Distribution worldwide

Africa, Madagascar, Mauritius, Réunion, Arabia, Yemen, possibly also E. Nepal.

Distribution in Africa

Burundi, Cameroon, Congo, Dem. Republic of Congo, Djibouti, Egypt, Ethiopia, Kenya, Namibia, Nigeria, Rwanda, Somalia, Sudan and South Sudan, Tanzania , Uganda.

Growth form



  • 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 167.
  • Verdcourt, B. (1999) Actiniopteridaceae. Flora of Tropical East Africa, Pages 5 - 6.