Pteris - Pteridaceae

Pteris atrovirens Willd.

Photo: BT. Wursten
Dem. Republic of Congo

Photo: BT. Wursten
Dem. Republic of Congo






Pteris atrovirens Willd. var. inermis Bonap.
Pteris spinulifera Schumach.

Common name


Rhizome shortly creeping; rhizome scales lanceolate in outline, 4 mm long with ± black narrow central stripe and pale margins. Fronds monomorphic, tufted, 0.25–1 m tall, usually without gemmae. Stipe 20–50 cm long, straw-coloured, often reddish at the base. Lamina bipinnatifid, elliptic-lanceolate, 20–50 x 15–60 cm, with (1–)5–7 pairs of pinnae, the basal pair bifid; pinnae oblong, 13–34 x 3–7 cm; ultimate segments 10–21 pairs, oblong-falcate in outline, apex toothed, 1.2–6.5 x 0.4–1.5 cm; terminal segments 4.5–9 x 1–1.3 cm; costa and costulae spinulose beneath or not; rhachis mostly smooth but sometimes feebly muriculate; groups of small tubercles in axils of pinnae near rhachis; veins anastomosing in the lobes and forming narrow areoles along the costae of the pinnae. Sori reaching nearly to apex of lobes, the sterile tips toothed; paraphyses mostly present.




Rain forest, forest stream banks, streams through limestone outcrops, moist lowland evergreen forest.

Distribution worldwide

Africa, Principe, Sao tomé.

Distribution in Africa

Angola, Benin, Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Congo, Dem. Republic of Congo, Equatorial Guinea (incl. Bioko), Gabon, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Liberia, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Sudan and South Sudan, Tanzania , Togo, 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 169. Forma atrovirens and forma laevicosta are distinguished.
  • Tardieu-Blot, M.-L. (1964) Ptéridophytes vol.3.Flore du Cameroun, Pages 166 - 168.
  • Thardieu-Blot, M.L. (1964) Ptéridophytes vol.8.Flore du Gabon, Pages 113 - 114. (Includes a picture).
  • Verdcourt, B. (2002) Pteridaceae.Flora of Tropical East Africa, Pages 13 - 14. Forma atrovirens and forma laevicosta are distinguished.