Pteris - Pteridaceae

Pteris tremula R.Br.






Common name


Rhizome short, erect, with several crowns in old plants; rhizome scales dark brown, linear-lanceolate in outline, up to 4 mm long. Fronds tufted, light green, looking lacy, texture herbaceous. Stipe up to 58 cm long, grooved, green becoming mid brown and darker at the base, glabrous, shiny. Lamina triangular in outline, up to 1 x 1 m, deeply 3-pinnatifid to 4-pinnate on the strongly basiscopically developed basal pair of pinnae, basal pair of most pinnae pinnatifid; ultimate lobes narrow-oblong to linear in outline, apex rounded, veins free, hairless on both surfaces, without spines above or below, margins finely toothed, except for fertile portions which are subentire along the sori; fertile segments 3-4 mm wide, narrower than sterile ones. Rhachis hairless, smooth, brown, green towards the apex. Sori linear, c. 0.5 mm wide, marginal, not continuous through the sinus of the ultimate lobes, not extending to the apices; indusium continuous, entire.


Naturalised in South Africa.


tremula: tremulous, shaking; referring to how the fronds tremble in light breezes.


Usually along moist drainage lines in dapled shade.

Distribution worldwide

Native to Australia, New Zealand and Fiji; escaped from cultivation in various parts of the world, including S.A. and U.S.A. (California).

Distribution in Africa

South Africa.

Growth form



  • Crouch, N.R., Klopper, R.R., Burrows, J.E. & Burrows, S.M. (2011) Ferns of Southern Africa, A comprehensive guide. Struik Nature. Pages 328 - 329. (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 176.