Cheilanthes - Sinopteridaceae

Cheilanthes capensis (Thunb.) SW.






Adiantum capense Thunb.
Hypolepis capensis (Thunb.) Hook.
Cheilanthes praetexta Kaulf.

Common name


Rhizome creeping, c. 3 mm in diameter; rhizome scales up to 3 mm long, pale brown, sometimes with a dark central stripe. Fronds monomorphic, closely spaced, erect to sub-arching. Stipe3.5-15 cm long, blackish brown, glabrous. Lamina 2- to deeply 3-pinnatifid, ovate to triangular in outline, basal pinnae the largest and distinctly basiscopically developed, 5-13 x 3.3-10 cm; ultimate lobes oblong in outline, obtuse to round, venation often prominent, glabrous on both surfaces, margins bluntly serrate to crenate; rhachis brown, glabrous or with a few reddish brown, hairlike scales, in the distal third of the lamina often green above and narrowly winged. Sori marginal, discrete; indusium discontinuous, lacerate.



capensis: of the Cape of Good Hope; the place were this ferns was first collected by Carl Thunberg.


Growing around the base of boulders or on open ground among grasses and shrubs, usually on south- or west-facing slopes.

Distribution worldwide

See African distribution.

Distribution in Africa

Lesotho, Namibia, South Africa.

Growth form



  • Burrows, J.E. (1990) Southern African Ferns and Fern Allies. Frandsen, Sandton. Page 142. (Includes a picture).
  • Crouch, N.R., Klopper, R.R., Burrows, J.E. & Burrows, S.M. (2011) Ferns of Southern Africa, A comprehensive guide. Struik Nature. Pages 372 - 373. (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 180.