Pellaea - Sinopteridaceae

Pellaea leucomelas (Mett. ex Kuhn) Baker






Pellaea calomelanos (Sw.) Link var. leucomelas (Mett. ex Kuhn) J.E.Burrows
Pteris leucomelas Mett. ex Kuhn

Common name


Rhizome shortly creeping, c. 2 mm in diameter; rhizome scales linear-lanceolate in outline, margin pale, subentire, up to 5 mm long, dark brown. Fronds monomorphic, tufted, erect, coriaceous. Stipe 5-30 cm long, grooved, dark brown, glabrous, sometimes with few scales at the base, similar to those on the rhizome. Lamina 2(-3) pinnate, ovate-lanceolate in outline, c. 15 x 5.5 cm; pinnae 7-12 pairs, basal pinnae largest; pinnules ovate to deltate or broadly triangular in outline, apex pointed to rounded, base cordate, petiolate, articulated, grey-green above, paler below, hairless on both surfaces; veins free, obscure; rhachis and secondary rhachis grooved, dark brown, glabrous, sometimes with minute hairs. Sori marginal, continuous; indusium interrupted at pinnule apex.


Differs from similar species by a grooved stipe and rhachis and the indusium that is interrupted at the pinnule apex.


leucomelas: white and black; maybe a reference to the contrast between the pale lamina and the black stipe.


Base of boulders, rock crevices, on dry slopes on shallow soils in short fynbos.

Distribution worldwide

See African distribution.

Distribution in Africa

South Africa.

Growth form



  • Crouch, N.R., Klopper, R.R., Burrows, J.E. & Burrows, S.M. (2011) Ferns of Southern Africa, A comprehensive guide. Struik Nature. Pages 420 - 421. (Includes a picture).
  • Jacobsen, W.B.G. (1983) The Ferns and Fern Allies of Southern Africa. Butterworths, Durban and Pretoria. Pages 277 - 280. As Pellaea calomelanos var. leucomelas (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 190.