Triplophyllum - Tectariaceae

Triplophyllum protensum (Afzel. ex Sw.) Holttum






Aspidium protensum Sw.
Ctenitis protensa (Sw.) Ching
Dryopteris protensa (Sw.) C.Chr.
Aspidium subquinquefidum P.Beauv.
Polypodium pubescens Schumach.

Common name


Rhizome long-creeping, 3–5 mm in diameter; rhizome scales broadly triangular in outline, gland-tipped, overlapping, 1–2 x 1 mm. Fronds monomorphic, spaced 0.5–3.5 cm apart, erect, thin to sub-coriaceous. Stipe 18–55 cm long, brown, base with lanceolate scales 4–5 x 0.4–1 mm, upper part with dense fine hairs 1–2 mm long, becoming hairless with age. Lamina 3–4-pinnatifid, deltoid-pentagonal in outline, with wide basal pinna pair strongly curving upwards, 18–36 x 15–32 cm, dark green above, yellowish green below; pinnae up to ± 12 on each side of the rhachis, apex gradually decrescent, pinnae closely aligned, not overlapping; basal pinna to 26 x 13 cm, with well-developed basiscopic pinnule; second pair shorter and less pinnatifid, central pinnae to 12 x 4 cm, 1-pinnate except for the basal pinnules which are 2-pinnatifid; ultimate segments of central pinnae slightly falcate, 7 mm wide, crenate to entire, apex rounded; rhachis not winged, grooved almost to apex; veins and veinlets forked, not reaching margin; indument on abaxial surface sparse, denser on venation, of ctenitoid hairs 0.4–1.3 mm long, on adaxial surface with only a few trichomes 1–2 mm long near forks of veins. Sori sub-median, near tip of acroscopic lateral veinlet, 1–1.5 mm in diameter; indusium kidney-shaped with lateral notch, 0.8 mm in diameter, from notch lines of square cells fan out, almost every second cell tipped by glandular hair ± 4 cells long.



protensum: extended.


Moist forest, especially along streams and waterfalls.

Distribution worldwide

Africa, Madagascar.

Distribution in Africa

Benin, Cameroon, Equatorial Guinea (incl. Bioko), Gabon, Ghana, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Uganda.

Growth form



  • 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 198.
  • Roux, J.P.; Shaffer-Fehre, M. & Verdcourt, B. (2007) Dryopteridaceae.Flora of Tropical East Africa, Pages 8 - 10. (Includes a picture).
  • Tardieu-Blot, M.-L. (1964) Ptéridophytes vol.3.Flore du Cameroun, Pages 272 - 273. (Includes a picture).
  • Thardieu-Blot, M.L. (1964) Ptéridophytes vol.8.Flore du Gabon, Page 159. (Includes a picture).