Pteris - Pteridaceae

Pteris microlepis Pic.Serm.






Common name


Rhizome erect; rhizome scales shiny, lanceolate in outline, 3–4.5 mm long, with red-chestnut median area and narrow erose margins. Fronds tufted, 0.4–1.1 m tall, gemmiferous, with a bulbil on rhachis at base of apical and/or penultimate pinnae. Stipe 20–50 cm long, straw-coloured, reddish and with scattered scales at the base. Lamina ovate to oblong in outline, 12–66 cm long, pinnate save for basal pair of elements which are bipinnate or have one basiscopic basal pinnule; pinnules 8–16-jugate, oblong or oblong-lanceolate in outline, 3.5–18 x 1.5–3 cm, apex tapering to a point, divided almost to base into lateral segments, the apical segment up to 2 x 0.3 cm, crenate; axils of pinnules with main rhachis with small clusters of short setiform tubercles; ultimate lateral segments of pinnules 10–17-jugate, linear-oblong in outline, 4–18 x 2–4.5 mm, the margins pale, slightly thickened, entire, rounded to subacute at the apex; costae of pinnules channelled above and with spinules at the junctions with the costulae; costulae also with 2–20 scattered shorter spinules; pinnule costae with scattered small dark brown clathrate scales on lower surface; veins free. Sori 1.5–6 mm long, in middle of ultimate segments.



microlepis: from the Greek mikros, meaning 'small', and lepis, meaning 'scale'.


Bamboo forest.

Distribution worldwide

See African distribution.

Distribution in Africa

Kenya, Rwanda, 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 174.
  • Verdcourt, B. (2002) Pteridaceae.Flora of Tropical East Africa, Pages 26 - 27.