Pellaea calomelanos (Sw.) Link
var. swynnertoniana (Sim) Schelpe

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Pellaea calomelanos var. swynnertoniana

Photo: Bart Wursten
Path to Hadange Gorge, Chimanimani National Park

Pellaea calomelanos var. swynnertoniana

Photo: Petra Ballings
Globe Rock, Vumba

Pellaea calomelanos var. swynnertoniana

Photo: Petra Ballings
Globe Rock, Vumba

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Species details: Click on each item to see an explanation of that item (Note: opens a new window)

Synonyms: Pellaea swynnertoniana Sim
Common names: Blue rock fern (English) Mumvuriwedombo (Shona)
Status: Native
Rhizome erect to shortly creeping, c. 6 mm in diameter; rhizome scales black, margins pale, linear-lanceolate in outline, apex slowly tapering to a point, up to 10 mm long. Fronds tufted, erect to arching, coriaceous, glaucous, usually more than 40 cm tall. Stipe 5-30 cm long, round, black, very shining, hairless, sometimes with a few scales similar to the rhizome scales near the base, old stipe bases present. Lamina ovate in outline, 10-25 cm × 2.5-15 cm, mostly 2-pinnate, occasionally 3-pinnate on the lower pinnae, with 7-12 pairs of pinnae. Pinnae opposite to slightly alternate, oblong-ovate in outline. Pinnules mores than 2 cm long, rounded to broadly hastate, with 3-5 acute to rounded points, articulated, petiolate, grey-green above, paler below, hairless, venetion free, hardly visible. Rhachis and secondary rhachis shiny black, hairless. Sori borne in a continuous ridge along the margins, indusium continuous, entire, membranous.
Notes: The rounded to broadly hastate pinnules, with typically 3-5 acute to rounded points, a grey-green colour and thick texture make this species easy to recognize. Could be confused with P. calomelanos var. calomelanos which has smaller fronds, pinnules that are less than 2 cm long and is more common.
Derivation of specific name: kalos: pretty, melanos: dark; alluding to the glossy black stipe and rhachis of the plant. swynnertoniana: named after C.F.M. Swynnerton (1877-1938), well known collector & forester at Mt. Selinda.
Habitat: High altitude Brachystegia spiciformis woodland on granite or quartzite outcrops, in Uapaca kirkii woodland on heavier soils, in areas with frequent mist and high rainfall.
Altitude range: (metres) 420 - 1830 m
Worldwide distribution: Malawi, Mozambique, Tanzania, Zimbabwe.
Zimbabwe distribution: E,S
Growth form(s): Lithophyte, terrestrial.
Endemic status:
Red data list status:
Insects associated with this species:
Spot characters: Display spot characters for this species
Images last updated: Saturday 10 August 2013

Burrows, J.E. (1990). Southern African Ferns and Fern Allies. Frandsen, Sandton. Pages 176 - 177. (Includes a picture).

Burrows, J.E. & Burrows, S.M. (1993). An annotated check-list of the pteridophytes of Malawi Kirkia 14(1) Page 89.

Chapano, C. & Mamuto, M. (2003). Plants of the Chimanimani District National Herbarium and Botanic Garden, Zimbabwe Page 43. As Pellaea swynnertoniana

Da Silva, M.C., Izidine, S. & Amude, A.B. (2004). A preliminary checklist of the vascular plants of Mozambique. Southern African Botanical Diversity Network Report No. 30 Sabonet, Pretoria Page 14.

Jacobsen, W.B.G. (1983). The Ferns and Fern Allies of Southern Africa. Butterworths, Durban and Pretoria. Pages 278 - 279. (Includes a picture).

Mapaura, A. & Timberlake, J. (eds) (2004). A checklist of Zimbabwean vascular plants Southern African Botanical Diversity Network Report No. 33 Sabonet, Pretoria and Harare Page 9.

Roux, J.P. (2001). Conspectus of Southern African Pteridophyta. Southern African Botanical Diversity Network Report 13 Page 71.

Roux, J.P. (2009). Synopsis of the Lycopodiophyta and Pteridophyta of Africa, Madagascar and neighbouring islands Page 189.

Schelpe, E.A.C.L.E. (1970). Pteridophyta Flora Zambesiaca Pages 132 - 133. (Includes a picture).

Wursten, B., Timberlake, J. & Darbyshire, I. (2017). The Chimanimani Mountains: an updated checklist. Kirkia 19(1) Page 80.

Other sources of information about Pellaea calomelanos var. swynnertoniana:

Our websites:

Flora of Malawi: Pellaea calomelanos var. swynnertoniana
Flora of Mozambique: Pellaea calomelanos var. swynnertoniana

External websites:

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

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: Species information: Pellaea calomelanos var. swynnertoniana., retrieved 20 April 2024

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