Cheilanthes - Sinopteridaceae

Cheilanthes rawsonii (Pappe) Mett. ex Kuhn






Notholaena rawsonii Pappe

Common name


Rhizome creeping, c. 2.5 mm in diameter; rhizome scales linear in outline, margins lacerate to ciliate, pale brown, up to 2 mm long, blackish brown. Fronds monomorphic, closely spaced, about 15 cm long, erect to arching, subcoriaceous. Stipe up to 7.5 cm long, brown, wiry, set with pale hairs when young, becoming hairless with age. Lamina 2-pinnatifid to sometimes 2-pinnate, linear-elliptic in outline, 8-27 x 1.2-2.2 cm; pinnae about 20 pairs, widely spaced, oblong-ovate in outline, the largest in the middle about 1 x 0.7 cm, slightly reduced towards the base and gradually becoming much reduced towards the apex with a very small terminal pinna, variously lobed, lobe margin entire, set with dense cover of reddish hairs below, subglabrous above; venation free, obscure; rhachis as for stipe, but rarely becoming hairless. Sori marginal, discrete, hidden under the reddish hairs below: exindusiate.



rawsonii: named after Sir W. Rawson (1812-1899), naturalist and Colonial Secretary at the Cape.


Base of boulders and rock crevices, usually on granite, in hot, arid semidesert areas along the west coast of the region.

Distribution worldwide

See African distribution.

Distribution in Africa

Namibia, South Africa.

Growth form

Lithophytic, terrestrial.


  • Burrows, J.E. (1990) Southern African Ferns and Fern Allies. Frandsen, Sandton. Page 134. (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 350 - 351. (Includes a picture).
  • Jacobsen, W.B.G. (1983) The Ferns and Fern Allies of Southern Africa. Butterworths, Durban and Pretoria. Pages 250 - 251. (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 185.