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: 1 genus and 6 taxa.

Cyathea dregei

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

Cyathea Sm.Description, Image

Other sources of information about Cyatheaceae:

Our websites:

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

External websites:

African Plants: A Photo Guide (Senckenberg): Cyatheaceae
Google: Web - Images - Scholar
GRIN (Germplasm Resources Information Network) taxonomy for plants report for Cyatheaceae
Wikipedia: Cyatheaceae

Copyright: Mark Hyde, Bart Wursten, Petra Ballings and Meg Coates Palgrave, 2002-23

Hyde, M.A., Wursten, B.T., Ballings, P. & Coates Palgrave, M. (2023). Flora of Zimbabwe: Family page: Cyatheaceae., retrieved 27 March 2023

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