Pellaea - Sinopteridaceae

Pellaea pteroides (L.) Prantl.






Cheilanthes pteroides (L.) Sw.
Adiantum pteroides L.

Common name


Rhizome creeping, 3-7 mm in diameter; rhizome scales narrowly linear in outline, entire, c. 3 mm long, dark brown with paler margins. Fronds monomorphic, closely spaced or tufted, suberect, spreading, firmly herbaceous to coriaceous. Stipe up to 35 cm long, blackish brown, with few pale, slightly contorted hair-like scales. Lamina 2- or 3-pinnate, broadly ovate to deltate, 13-45 x 10-37 cm; pinnae alternate, widely spaced, spreading at 70-80° towards the apex, lowest pinnae largest; pinnules 1.2-1.8 x 0.4-1 cm, broadly elliptic in outline, apex blunt, base broadly cuneate to truncate, shortly petiolate, articulated, hairless on both surfaces but with a few hair-like scales near the petiole; veins obscure below, partly visible near the margin above; rhachis and secondary rhachises blackish, with a few twisted hairs. Sori marginal, discrete but appearing continuous after dehiscence; indusium discrete, broadly oblong.



pteroides: like Pteris; a genus which this species superficialy resembles.


Mountainous, rocky regions at base of boulders, under shrubs and on rocky ledges on shallow sandy but humiferous soil, often in the transitional zone between forest and fynbos, usually on southern or eastern slopes.

Distribution worldwide

See African distribution.

Distribution in Africa

South Africa.

Growth form



  • Burrows, J.E. (1990) Southern African Ferns and Fern Allies. Frandsen, Sandton. Pages 167 - 168. (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 408 - 409. (Includes a picture).
  • Jacobsen, W.B.G. (1983) The Ferns and Fern Allies of Southern Africa. Butterworths, Durban and Pretoria. Pages 275 - 276. (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 191.