Cheilanthes - Sinopteridaceae

Cheilanthes contracta (Kunze) Mett. ex Kuhn






Cheilanthes hirta Sw. var. contracta Kunze
Myriopteris contracta (Kunze) Fée
Pteris contracta (Kunze) Mett.

Common name


Rhizome creeping, 2.5-4 mm in diameter; rhizome scales up to 2 mm long, blackish brown, margins pale, lacerate. Fronds monomorphic, closely spaced (1-5 mm apart), stiffly erect. Stipe 2-10 mm long, dark brown, pubescent with short, pale hairs as well as scales basally similar to the rhizome scales. Lamina 2-pinnate to 3-pinnatifid, linear-elliptic in outline, basal pinnae usually slightly reduced, 8-30 x 0.8-2.4 cm; pinnae lanceolate in outline, angled forward at 45-60° from the axis, divided into pinnatifid pinnules, sparsely hairy above, more dens below, hairs pale, cream to reddish brown, twisted, appressed; rhachis as for stipe. Sori marginal on ultimate lobes, set beneath the inrolled margin, discrete; indusium minute or absent.



contracta: narrowed, contracted; a reference to the small, compacted pinnae of this fern.


Rocky areas in fynbos or in karroid, succulent scrub, on sandstones of the Table Mountain Series.

Distribution worldwide

See African distribution.

Distribution in Africa

South Africa.

Growth form



  • Burrows, J.E. (1990) Southern African Ferns and Fern Allies. Frandsen, Sandton. Page 135. (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 352 - 353. (Includes a picture).
  • Jacobsen, W.B.G. (1983) The Ferns and Fern Allies of Southern Africa. Butterworths, Durban and Pretoria. Pages 262 - 263.
  • 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.