Pteris - Pteridaceae

Pteris tripartita Sw.






Pteris marginata Bory
Litobrochia tripartita (Sw) Presl.
Litobrochia marginata (Bory) C.Presl.

Common name


Rhizome erect, short; rhizome scales concolorous. Fronds monomorphic, tufted, 0.5–2.5 m long. Stipe 0.3–1.5 m long, very fleshy and thick. Lamina ovate-triangular in outline, divided in 3 equal branches of 1 m long, 25 cm wide, the laterals with smaller similar branches and frond appearing pedately branched; each branch bipinnate with up to 30 pairs of pinnules; pinnules (2–)5–25 x 1.3–3 cm wide; ultimate segments ± oblong, straight or falcate, 0.3–2 x 0.3-0.7 cm; veins with narrow areoles along costae and costules and anastomosing in ultimate lobes. Sori extending from sinus about halfway or to near top of segments.



tripartita: tripartate, consisting of three parts, referring to the lamina that is divided in 3 equal branches.


Cynometra alexandri-Khaya anthotheca forest, moist evergreen forest on massive outcrop of Kambe limestone.

Distribution worldwide

Africa, Comoro Isl., Mascarene Isl., Chagos Isl., Principe, São Tomé, Seychelles, widespread in the old world tropics extending to Polynesia and Australia, naturalised in American tropics.

Distribution in Africa

Angola, Cameroon, Dem. Republic of Congo, Equatorial Guinea (incl. Bioko), Gabon, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Liberia, Nigeria, Tanzania , Uganda.

Growth form

Epiphytic, terrestrial.


  • 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.
  • Tardieu-Blot, M.-L. (1964) Ptéridophytes vol.3.Flore du Cameroun, Pages 170 - 171.
  • Thardieu-Blot, M.L. (1964) Ptéridophytes vol.8.Flore du Gabon, Pages 116 - 118. As Pteris marginata Bory
  • Verdcourt, B. (2002) Pteridaceae.Flora of Tropical East Africa, Page 16. (Includes a picture).