Cystopteris - Woodsiaceae

Cystopteris fragilis (L.) Bernh. ssp. B sensu Verdc.






Common name


Fronds 7.5–37 cm tall. Stipe 3.5–20 cm long. Lamina lanceolate or ± triangular in outline, 4–25 x 1.5–10 cm essentially 2-pinnate with 9–20 pairs of pinnae, but pinnules narrowly decurrent, deeply pinnatifid; sometimes truly 2-pinnate; veins mostly running into the sinuses. Spores with densely packed spines.


Verdcourt (2003) has subdivided this taxon in subspec. A and B based on the division of the fronds, the number of pinnae, wether the veins run into the teeth or sinuses of the pinnules and on the ornamentation of the spores. Other autors (Crouch et all., 2011) believe that the various forms grade into each other and no stable set of characters has been given to substantiate subdivision.



Distribution worldwide

Distribution in Africa

Algeria, Cameroon, Dem. Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Kenya, Lesotho, Morocco and Western Sahara, South Africa, Sudan and South Sudan, Tanzania , Uganda.

Growth form



  • Crouch, N.R., Klopper, R.R., Burrows, J.E. & Burrows, S.M. (2011) Ferns of Southern Africa, A comprehensive guide. Struik Nature. Page 706. Mentoined in note.
  • 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 215.
  • Verdcourt, B. (2003) Woodsiaceae.Flora of Tropical East Africa, Page 7. (Includes a picture).