Pityrogramma - Pteridaceae

Pityrogramma aurantiaca (Hieron) C.Chr.






Gymnogramma aurantiaca Hieron.
Pityrogramma rupicola Pic. Serm.

Common name


Rhizome c. 2.5 mm in diameter, short- to long-creeping; rhizome scales lanceolate, margin entire, dark-brown, c.3 mm long. Fronds closely spaced, erect or ± scrambling, firmly membranous or subcoriaceous. Stipe chestnut, glabrous, shining except for a few scales similar to the rhizome-scales near the base. Lamina oblong to ovate-oblong in outline, up to 12 × 7 cm (larger in other tropical African specimens), 2–3-pinnate with pinnatifid pinnules; pinnae triangular-ovate, up to 4 cm long; pinna segments of upper pinnae and pinnule segments of lower pinnae oblong to broadly cuneate, up to 6 mm broad, obtuse, very weakly crenate and with the margins sometimes revolute, with (yellow to) bright-orange powder on the lower surface, glabrous on the upper surface; rhachis chestnut, shiny; secondary rhachises narrowly winged for most of their length. Sori 1–2 mm long, linear, along the veins; indusium absent.


The yellow to orange powder on the undersurface of the lamina makes this species easy to recognize.
Differs from P. argentea by having a widely creeping rhizome, a more narrowly oblong lamina and the undersurface of the lamina that is covered by a orange powder.



Forming tussocks in high-altitude marshes

Distribution worldwide

See African distribution.

Distribution in Africa

Burundi, Dem. Republic of Congo, Kenya, Malawi, Rwanda, Tanzania , Uganda.

Growth form



  • 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 177.
  • Roux, J.P. (2001) Conspectus of Southern African Pteridophyta.Southern African Botanical Diversity Network Report, 13 Page 57.
  • Schelpe, E.A.C.L.E. (1970) Pteridophyta.Flora Zambesiaca, 0 Page 107.
  • Verdcourt, B. (2002) Adiantaceae.Flora of Tropical East Africa, Pages 43 - 44.