Sphaerostephanos - Thelypteridaceae

Sphaerostephanos unitus (L.) Holttum var. unitus Holttum






Polypodium unitum L.
Nephrodium leuconeuron Fée
Thelypteris unita (L.) Morton
Thelypteris leuconeuron (Fée) Schelpe
Nephrodium haenkeanum C.Presl.
Dryopteris unita (L.) Kuntze

Common name


Rhizome long-creeping, 5–7 mm in diameter; rhizome scales lanceolate-triangular in outline, apex acute, 2–3 mm long, pale brown, glabrous. Fronds monomorphic, widely spaced, 1.2 m tall, texture thick. Stipe 10–58 cm long. Lamina bipinnatifid with 6–12 lower pairs of pinnae reduced, oblong to ovate in outline, 30–60 x 20–25 cm; pinnae the smallest about 1 cm long and numerous aerophores beneath; largest pinnae linear-lanceolate in outline, 10–17 x 0.8–1.5 cm, apex narrowly attenuate, hairy beneath on costa and lower surface with many rather large glossy brownish glands on and between veins and on costules, pinnae lobed for about 1/3 into ovate-oblong lobes, 2–4 x 2.5 mm; veins 8–10 pairs, 11/2 pairs anastomosing with next 2–4 pairs passing to sides of the sinus membrane. Sori ± 7 on each side of costule; indusia ± glabrous or with few hairs and glands; sporangia with glands.




Rain forest, damp ground and roadside banks

Distribution worldwide

See African distribution

Distribution in Africa

Tanzania .

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. Pages 210 - 211.
  • Verdcourt, B (2006) Thelypteridaceae.Flora of Tropical East Africa, Pages 40 - 41.