Pteridophyta: Cyatheales

Cyatheaceae - Tree-fern family

Crouch, N.R., Klopper, R.R., Burrows, J.E. & Burrows, S.M. (2011) Ferns of Southern Africa, A comprehensive guide Struik Nature

Jacobsen, W.B.G. (1983) The Ferns and Fern Allies of Southern Africa. Butterworths, Durban and Pretoria.

Roux, J.P. (2001) Conspectus of Southern African Pteridophyta. Southern African Botanical Diversity Network Report 13

Schelpe, E.A.C.L.E. (1970) Pteridophyta Flora Zambesiaca

Description of the family

Tree-like plants with a trunk, terrestrial or lithophytic. Stem (trunk) large, erect, unbranched, densily covered in adventitious roots and leaf base scars. Fronds usually large, deeply 2-pinnatifid to 3-pinnate or 4-pinnatifid, borne at the apex of the trunk, tufted. Venation free, dichotomously forked, ending near the margin. Indumentum composed of contorted hairs and bracts with a fringed edge often ending in a seta. Sori circular, superficial on the veins before the bifurcation; indusium attached basally to the receptacle, cup-shaped when open; homosporus.

Comment: Some authors distinguish five different genera, our indigenous tree ferns would be placed in the genus Alsophila. We follow Neil R. Crouch et al. (2011) : all species are put into one genus with two subgenera, Cyathea with marginate petiole scales and Sphaeropteris with conform petiole scales.

Worldwide: 1 genus and 600-650 species in tropical and warm areas.

Zimbabwe: 2 cultivated genera and 3 cultivated taxa.

No image of a cultivated species but there is an image of a native or naturalised species

Links to cultivated genera:     View: living plant images - herbarium specimen images - all images for this family

Cyathea Sm.Description
Dicksonia L'Hér.

Other sources of information about Cyatheaceae:

Our websites:

Flora of Caprivi: cultivated Cyatheaceae
Flora of Malawi: Cyatheaceae
Flora of Mozambique: Cyatheaceae
Flora of Zambia: Cyatheaceae
Flora of Zimbabwe: Cyatheaceae

External websites:

African Plants: A Photo Guide (Senckenberg): Cyatheaceae
BHL (Biodiversity Heritage Library): Cyatheaceae
EOL (Encyclopedia of Life): Cyatheaceae
GBIF (Global Biodiversity Information Facility): Cyatheaceae
Google: Web - Images - Scholar
iNaturalist: Cyatheaceae
IPNI (International Plant Names Index): Cyatheaceae
JSTOR Plant Science: Cyatheaceae
Mansfeld World Database of Agricultural and Horticultural Crops: Cyatheaceae
Wikipedia: Cyatheaceae
Plants of the World Online: Cyatheaceae
Tropicos: Cyatheaceae

Copyright: Mark Hyde, Bart Wursten, Petra Ballings and Meg Coates Palgrave, 2002-24

Hyde, M.A., Wursten, B.T., Ballings, P. & Coates Palgrave, M. (2024). Flora of Zimbabwe: Cultivated plants: Family page: Cyatheaceae., retrieved 28 May 2024

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