Dryopteris - Dryopteridaceae

Dryopteris dracomontana Schelpe & N.C.Anthony

Photo: JE. Burrows
South Africa






Common name


Rhizome procumbent, c. 10 mm in diameter; rhizome scales concolorous, lanceolate in outline, apex tapering to a point, up to 12 mm long, margins fimbriate. Fronds tufted, strongly dimorphic, fertile fronds erect, longer and narrower than the semiprostrate sterile fronds. Sterile stipe 4-9 cm long, strawcoloured, scales ovate in outline, brown, entire or fimbriate. Sterile lamina 11-25 x 6-10 cm, narrowly deltate to ovate in outline, 2-pinnate to 3-pinnatifid; pinnules incised or pinnatifid, apices rounded, venation raised and prominent below, hairless on both surfaces. Fertile stipe up to 20 cm long, otherwise as for sterile stipe. Fertile lamina 15-25 cm long, narrowly lanceolate in outline, 3-pinnatifid; pinnules narrowly oblong, apices rounded. Sori round, 8-10 per pinnule, covering most of the lamina undersurface; indusium 0.8-1 mm in diameter, membranous.



dracomontana: of the Dragon mountain, the Drakensberg were the type specimen was collected.


Basalt boulders or scree in short grassland, low thick ericoid Helichrysum and Euryops schrub, full sun or partial shade in the lee of rocks.

Distribution worldwide

Endemic to southern Africa.

Distribution in Africa

Lesotho, South Africa.

Growth form

Lithophytic, terrestrial.


  • Burrows, J.E. (1990) Southern African Ferns and Fern Allies. Frandsen, Sandton. Pages 304 - 306. (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 482 - 483. (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 121.