Cheilanthes - Sinopteridaceae

Cheilanthes viridis (Forssk.) Sw. var. macrophylla (Kunze) Schelpe & N.C.Anthony






Cheilanthes hastata (L.f.) Kunze var. macrophylla Kunze
Cheilanthes macrophylla (Kunze) Kunze
Allosorus hastata (L.f.) Presl. var. macrophylla (Kunze) Pappe & Rawson
Pellaea hastata (L.f.) Link var. macrophylla (Kunze) Hook.
Pellaea viridis (Forssk.) Prantl var. macrophylla (Kunze) Sim

Common name


Rhizome shortly creeping, c. 5 mm in diameter; rhizome scales linear-lanceolate in outline, apex gradually tapering to a slender point, margin minutely toothed, up to 3 mm long, pale brown to rust-coloured, but mostly chestnut-coloured, sometimes with a dark brown to black central stripe. Fronds monomorphic, tufted or closely spaced, erect to arching, herbaceous to thinly coriaceous. Stipe about as long as lamina, dark brown to blackish, shiny, grooved, with hair-like scales, more dense towards the base. Lamina pinnate to 2-pinnate, with basal pinnae the largest and developed basiscopically, narrowly deltate to pentagonal, 10-35 x 2.5-28 cm; pinnae oblong in outline, 2-10 x 2.5 cm; pinnules 5-9 pairs, simple or lobed at the base, subdeltate in outline, apex pointed to sharply rounded, margin entire to minutely bluntly toothed, c. 1.5-8 x 0.6-2 cm, hairless or with soft short hairs along costae and veins on the lower surface; veins free and apparent; rhachis and secondary rhachises broadly grooved, dark brown to black, shiny, hairless or with short hair-like scales, always with short hairs in the axils. Sori marginal; indusium continuous, membranous, subentire or somewhat erose.


Between this form and the other varieties of the viridis complex numerous gradiations exist, a clear identification is not always possible and subjective. The varieties could therefor be treated as members of one variable species complex.


viridis: green, a reference to the colour of the lamina; macrophylla: large-leaved; this species has large pinnules.


Evergreen forest or coastal bush, usually along streams or in moist situation, shade; sunny roadside banks and rocky places.

Distribution worldwide

See African distribution.

Distribution in Africa

Burundi, Dem. Republic of Congo, Kenya, Rwanda, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania .

Growth form



  • Burrows, J.E. (1990) Southern African Ferns and Fern Allies. Frandsen, Sandton. Pages 146 - 148. (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 392 - 393. (Includes a picture).
  • Jacobsen, W.B.G. (1983) The Ferns and Fern Allies of Southern Africa. Butterworths, Durban and Pretoria. Pages 283 - 286. (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 186.
  • Verdcourt, B. (2002) Adiantaceae.Flora of Tropical East Africa, Pages 18 - 21. As Pellaea viridis (Forssk.) Prantl var. macrophylla (Kunze) Sim