Pteris - Pteridaceae

Pteris intricata C.H. Wright






Pteris adamii Tardieu

Common name


Rhizome up to 1.2 cm in diameter, erect or ascending, woody; rhizome-scales up to 1 cm long, dark brown, linear-lanceolate in outline, margin entire. Fronds tufted, arching, herbaceous, 0.9-2 m tall. Stipe 60-90 cm long, 8 mm in diameter, light brown to castaneous, with sparse stout erect or recurved spines up to 3 mm long, glabrous except for numerous scales similar to those on the rhizome on the basal 15 cm. Lamina almost as broad as long, up to 1 x 0.9 m, triangular to broadly ovate in outline, 3–4-pinnatifid. Lowest pinnae up to 60 cm long and developed basiscopically; pinnae narrowly triangular in outline, petiolate; the costae and costules of larger pinnae sparsely set with stout spines on the undersurface and with a spine at the junction of main veins on the upper surface; ultimate lobes c. 0.4-4 x 0.2-0.6 cm, narrowly oblong to linear in outline, apex round to pointed, with the sterile margins of the fertile and sterile segments toothed, glabrous on both surfaces; veins free; rhachis and secondary rhachises castaneous, with sparse stout erect spines up to 2 mm long. Sori 2-4 mm, linear, marginal in basal half of the segments; indusium entire, membranous.


This species can be recognized by a 2-pinnate lamina , free veins and a rhachis with stout spines.


intricata: entangled, a reference to the much divided fronds.


In evergreen swamp forest or riverside forest, on wet soils and in deep shade.

Distribution worldwide

See African distribution.

Distribution in Africa

Angola, Burundi, Cameroon, Congo, Dem. Republic of Congo, Equatorial Guinea (incl. Bioko), Ghana, Guinea, Kenya, Mali, Mozambique, Nigeria, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, Tanzania , Uganda, Zambia.

Growth form



  • Jacobsen, W.B.G. (1983) The Ferns and Fern Allies of Southern Africa. Butterworths, Durban and Pretoria. Pages 238 - 239. (Includes a picture).
  • Kornas, J. (1979) Distribution and ecology of the Pteridophytes in Zambia. Polska Akademia Nauk Wydzial II Nauk Biologicznych. Page 70.
  • Roux, J.P. (2001) Conspectus of Southern African Pteridophyta.Southern African Botanical Diversity Network Report, 13 Page 79.
  • 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 173.
  • Schelpe, E.A.C.L.E. (1970) Pteridophyta.Flora Zambesiaca, 0 Page 117.
  • Tardieu-Blot, M.-L. (1964) Ptéridophytes vol.3.Flore du Cameroun, Page 171. (Includes a picture).
  • Verdcourt, B. (2002) Pteridaceae.Flora of Tropical East Africa, Page 17.