Pteris vittata L.

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Pteris vittata

Photo: Petra Ballings
Kopje tops, Mavhuradonha Wilderness Area

Pteris vittata

Photo: Petra Ballings
Kopje tops, Mavhuradonha Wilderness Area

Pteris vittata

Photo: Petra Ballings
Kopje tops, Mavhuradonha Wilderness Area

Pteris vittata

Photo: Bart Wursten
Osborne Dam RP

Pteris vittata

Photo: Petra Ballings
Mahogany cottage, Hippo Pools, Umfurudzi Safari area

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

Synonyms: Pteris costata Bory ex Willd.
Pteris diversifolia Sw.
Pteris longifolia sensu Sim
Common names:
Status: Native
Rhizome prostrate to suberect, short, up to 8 mm in diameter; rhizome scales linear to lanceolate with a long hair-tip, pale brown, up to 7 mm long, entire. Fronds tufted or closely spaced, arching, herbaceous to slightly coriaceous. Stipe up to 20 cm long but varying in length, pale brown, glabrous with age and with scales similar to the rhizome near the base. Lamina up to 1.1 × 0.4 m, oblong-lanceolate in outline, pinnate, middle pinnae the longest and basal pinnae gradually reducing in size. Pinnae 20-40, opposite to alternate, shortly stalked, linear in outline, apex gradually tapering to a point, base cordate or rounded, margins minutely toothed; veins free; glabrous on both surfaces; costae prominent below. Rhachis glabrous, pale brown. Sori linear, continuous, marginal; indusia entire, membranous.
Notes: P. vittata is pinnate, unlike the other species of Pteris.
Derivation of specific name: vittata: narrow headband worn during sacrificial rites; alluding to the narrow linear pinnae
Habitat: In permanently wet places in more arid regions.
Altitude range: (metres) 150 - 1500 m
Worldwide distribution: Widespread in Africa, also Spain, Yemen, Comoro & Mascarene Islands, Madagascar, tropical Asia, China, Japan, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, Australia and Polynesia.
Zimbabwe distribution: N,W,C,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 8 December 2012

Burrows, J.E. (1990). Southern African Ferns and Fern Allies. Frandsen, Sandton. Pages 158 - 160. (Includes a picture).

Burrows, J.E. & Burrows, S.M. (1993). An annotated check-list of the pteridophytes of Malawi Kirkia 14(1) Page 87.

Chapano, C. & Mamuto, M. (2003). Plants of the Chimanimani District National Herbarium and Botanic Garden, Zimbabwe Page 46.

Crouch, N.R., Klopper, R.R., Burrows, J.E. & Burrows, S.M. (2011). Ferns of Southern Africa, A comprehensive guide Struik Nature Pages 316 - 317. (Includes a picture).

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 15.

Jacobsen, W.B.G. (1983). The Ferns and Fern Allies of Southern Africa. Butterworths, Durban and Pretoria. Pages 235 - 236. (Includes a picture).

Kornas, J. (1979). Distribution and ecology of the Pteridophytes in Zambia Polska Akademia Nauk Wydzial II Nauk Biologicznych Page 71.

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 80. (Includes a picture).

Roux, J.P. (2009). Synopsis of the Lycopodiophyta and Pteridophyta of Africa, Madagascar and neighbouring islands Pages 176 - 177.

Schelpe, E.A.C.L.E. (1970). Pteridophyta Flora Zambesiaca Pages 115 - 116.

Setshogo, M.P. (2005). Preliminary checklist of the plants of Botswana. Sabonet Report no. 37. Sabonet, Pretoria and Gaborone Page 16.

Other sources of information about Pteris vittata:

Our websites:

Flora of Botswana: Pteris vittata
Flora of Caprivi: cultivated Pteris vittata
Flora of Malawi: Pteris vittata
Flora of Mozambique: Pteris vittata
Flora of Zambia: Pteris vittata

External websites:

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

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: Pteris vittata., retrieved 20 May 2024

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