Cheilanthes - Sinopteridaceae

Cheilanthes marlothii (Hieron.) Domin






Notholaena marlothii Hieron.

Common name


Rhizome shortly creeping, up to 4 mm in diameter; rhizome scales linear in outline, apex gradually tapering to a point, c. 3 mm long, with a dark central stripe and paler yellowish margins. Frond monomorphic, tufted, erect, 10-30 cm tall. Stipe 2-10 cm long, black, set with fine, hair-like, grey or reddish brown scales, possibly glabrous with age. Lamina usually deeply 2-pinnatifid, basal pinnae reduced, narrowly elliptic to broadly linear in outline, up to 24 x 3.5 cm; pinnae 10-20 pairs, ovate-oblong in outline; ultimate lobes ovate-oblong in outline, apex rounded, margin entire or shallowly lobed, upper surface sparsely set with fine silvery hairs, denser towards the costa, becoming hairless with age, lower surface thickly covered with white to greyish-rusty brown hairs; venation free; rhachis as for stipe. Sori marginal, discontinuous, obscured by the scales; indusiate.



marlothii: named after Prof. R.Marloth (1835-1931), chemist, botanist and author of the Flora of South Africa (1913-1932), who first collected this fern in SWA/Namibia in 1886.


Rocky habitats, dry deciduous woodland, savanna, semidesert, on various types of rock from granite, schist, sandstone to dolomite.

Distribution worldwide

See African distribution.

Distribution in Africa

Angola, Namibia, South Africa.

Growth form



  • Burrows, J.E. (1990) Southern African Ferns and Fern Allies. Frandsen, Sandton. Page 132. (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 346 - 347. (Includes a picture).
  • Jacobsen, W.B.G. (1983) The Ferns and Fern Allies of Southern Africa. Butterworths, Durban and Pretoria. Pages 259 - 260. (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 183.