Cheilanthes - Sinopteridaceae

Cheilanthes similis F. Ballard






Cheilanthes heterophylla sensu Tardieu

Common name


Rhizome short, creeping, c. 8 mm. in diameter; rhizome scales very narrowly linear in outline, margin entire, concolorous, up to 10 x 1 mm, light orange-brown. Fronds dimorphic, tufted, thinly coriaceous, the fertile erect, more dissected and with longer stipes than the sterile fronds which are appressed to the ground. Stipe 1-2 cm in sterile fronds and 9–22 cm in fertile fronds, castaneous, thinly pubescent with pale hairs 1–2 mm long. Sterile lamina deeply pinnatifid above becoming pinnate at the base, the lowest pinnae with basiscopically developed lobes, oblong-ovate to triangular in outline, 3-7 x 2-6 cm; pinna lobes oblong in outline, apex rounded to pointed, margin entire to crenate, thinly pilose on both surfaces with pale flexuous hairs; venation obscure. Fertile lamina pinnate above to pinnatifid below, the lowest pinnae with basiscopically developed entire to sinuate lobes, triangular in outline, 3-10.7 x 3-9 cm; middle pinnae pinnatifid into oblong to triangular obtuse entire lobes thinly pilose on both surfaces with pale flexuous hairs. Sori small, submarginal, discrete, developing into a soral line later; indusium membranous, hyaline, mostly continuous, longly ciliate.




On dry rock slopes with grasses and few shrubs, in full sun or light shade, on shallow skeletal soils, narrow zone of Monopetalanthus richardsiae on hard bare red lateritic soil between evergreen forest and Combretum-Uapaca bushland.

Distribution worldwide

See African distribution.

Distribution in Africa

Burundi, Dem. Republic of Congo, Tanzania , Zambia.

Growth form

Lithophytic, terrestrial.


  • Kornas, J. (1979) Distribution and ecology of the Pteridophytes in Zambia. Polska Akademia Nauk Wydzial II Nauk Biologicznych. Pages 51 - 52.
  • 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 185.
  • Roux, J.P. (2001) Conspectus of Southern African Pteridophyta.Southern African Botanical Diversity Network Report, 13 Page 66.
  • Schelpe, E.A.C.L.E. (1970) Pteridophyta.Flora Zambesiaca, 0 Page 124.
  • Verdcourt, B. (2002) Adiantaceae.Flora of Tropical East Africa, Page 34.