Dryopteris - Dryopteridaceae

Dryopteris schimperiana (Hochst.) C. Chr.






Aspidium schimperiana Hochst. ex Braun
Polystichum schimperiana (Hochst. ex Braun) Keyserl.

Common name


Rhizome short-decumbent, up to 18 mm in diameter; rhizome scales up to 35 × 5 mm, brown to rust coloured, linear to narrowly lanceolate in outline, with scattered oblong glands, and irregularly set with long twisted filiform outgrowths. Fronds tufted, firmly herbaceous, 5–7 per plant, erect to arching, up to 1.6 m long. Stipe castaneous at the base, strawcoloured to greenish higher up, up to 87 × 0.8 cm, densely scaly at the base. Lamina ovate to broadly ovate in outline, up to 73 × 45 cm, up to 3-pinnate. Pinnae in up to 14 stalked pairs, basal pair longest and mostly basiscopically developed, glabrous or with few hairs or scales on the upper surface, sparsely to moderately set with scales and hairs on the lower surface; pinna-rachis narrowly winged distally, abaxially initially with scales up to 6 × 1 mm. Pinnules oblong-acuminate in outline, rounded, lobed, to 1-pinnate. Costa adaxially shallowly grooved, narrowly winged, variously set with scales and hairs. Rachis straw-coloured, with scales up to 8 × 1.2 mm, becoming glabrous with age. Sori circular, discrete, or the sporangia often touching at maturity, up to 2 mm in diameter; indusium persistent, brown to rust coloured, kidney-shaped, entire or glandular along margin, up to 2 mm in diameter.



schimperiana: in honour of G.H.W. Schimper (1804–1878), German botanist and naturalist.


Evergreen montane and riverine forest, moist streambanks in woodland.

Distribution worldwide

See African distribution.

Distribution in Africa

Burundi, Dem. Republic of Congo, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Rwanda, Sudan and South Sudan, Tanzania , Uganda.

Growth form



  • Roux, J.P. (2012) A revision of the fern genus Dryopteris (Dryopteridaceae) in sub-Saharan Africa.Phytotaxa, 70(1) Pages 97 - 102. (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 124.
  • Roux, J.P. (2001) Conspectus of Southern African Pteridophyta.Southern African Botanical Diversity Network Report, 13 Page 127.
  • Roux, J.P.; Shaffer-Fehre, M. & Verdcourt, B. (2007) Dryopteridaceae.Flora of Tropical East Africa, Pages 46 - 48.