Cyathea thomsonii Baker

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Cyathea thomsonii

Photo: Petra Ballings

Cyathea thomsonii

Photo: Petra Ballings

Cyathea thomsonii

Photo: Bart Wursten
Eden Lodge, Vumba

Cyathea thomsonii

Photo: Bart Wursten
White horse Inn, Vumba

Cyathea thomsonii

Photo: Bart Wursten
White horse Inn, Vumba

Cyathea thomsonii

Photo: Bart Wursten
Fern gully, Vumba

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Synonyms: Alsophila thomsonii (Baker) R. M. Tryon
Cyathea zambesiaca Baker
Common names: Thomson's tree fern (English)
Status: Native
Tree fern. Caudex slender, 2.5 m × 15 cm, the top carrying thinly coriaceous fronds. Stem without spines and without aphlebia. Stipe glossy brown, set with dark brown scales towards the base, scales up to 20 mm long, lanceolate, margins pale, lacerate. Lamina up to 2m × 0.8m, 2-pinnate to 3-pinnatifid, elliptic in outline. Pinnae narrowly oblong-attenuate, deeply to shallowly pinnatifid; pinnule lobes from almost semicircular to oblong, slightly falcate, apex rounded to acute, undersurface with sparce stiff twisted hairs along the costules; rhachis pale brown with twisted hairs when young, becoming hairless at maturity. Sori round, set in 2 rows along each side of the costules, indusium cup-shaped fragmenting with maturity.
Notes: Differs from C. dregei in having a narrower and shorter stem, a 2-pinnate to 3-pinnatifid frond (never 3-pinnate) and shorter stipe scales.
Derivation of specific name: thomsonii: after Joseph Thomson (1858-1895), Scottish explorer, geologist and naturalist for the Royal Geographical Society in East Central Africa.
Habitat: Along shaded streambanks in evergreen or semi-deciduous forest
Altitude range: (metres) 700 - 1770 m
Worldwide distribution: Angola, Burundi, DRC, Malawi, Mozambique, Tanzania, Zambia, Zimbabwe.
Zimbabwe distribution: E,S
Growth form(s): Tree, shrub over 2 m, terrestrial.
Endemic status:
Red data list status: Critically Endangered
Insects associated with this species:
Spot characters: Display spot characters for this species
Images last updated: Sunday 1 August 2010

Burrows, J.E. (1990). Southern African Ferns and Fern Allies. Frandsen, Sandton. Page 86. (Includes a picture).

Burrows, J.E. & Burrows, S.M. (1993). An annotated check-list of the pteridophytes of Malawi Kirkia 14(1) Page 83.

Burrows, J.E. & Willis, C.K. (eds) (2005). Plants of the Nyika Plateau Southern African Botanical Diversity Network Report No. 31 SABONET, Pretoria Page 27.

Burrows, J.E., Burrows, S.M., Lötter, M.C. & Schmidt, E. (2018). Trees and Shrubs Mozambique Publishing Print Matters (Pty), Cape Town. Page 31. (Includes a picture).

Coates Palgrave, K. (revised and updated by Meg Coates Palgrave) (2002). Trees of Southern Africa 3rd edition. Struik, South Africa Page 73. (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 10.

Dowsett-Lemaire, F. (1989). The flora and phytogeography of the evergreen forests of Malawi. I: Afromontane and mid-altitude forests; Bull. Jard. Bot. Nat. Belg. 59(1/2) Page 25.

Drummond, R.B. (1975). A list of trees, shrubs and woody climbers indigenous or naturalised in Rhodesia. Kirkia 10(1) Page 231.

Golding, J.S. (ed.) (2002). Zimbabwe Plant Red Data List. Southern African Plant Red Data Lists. SABONET 14 Page 164.

Jacobsen, W.B.G. (1983). The Ferns and Fern Allies of Southern Africa. Butterworths, Durban and Pretoria. Pages 199 - 200. As Alsophila thomsonii (Baker) R.M.Tryon (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 6.

Roux, J.P. (2001). Conspectus of Southern African Pteridophyta. Southern African Botanical Diversity Network Report 13 Page 88.

Roux, J.P. (2009). Synopsis of the Lycopodiophyta and Pteridophyta of Africa, Madagascar and neighbouring islands Page 67. As Alsophila thomsonii (Baker) R.M.Tryon

Schelpe, E.A.C.L.E. (1970). Pteridophyta Flora Zambesiaca Page 72. (Includes a picture).

White, F. (1962). Forest Flora of Northern Rhodesia Oxford Univ. Press. Page 2. as Cyathea zambesiaca

White, F., Dowsett-Lemaire, F. & Chapman, J.D. (2001). Evergreen forest flora of Malawi Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew Page 78.

Other sources of information about Cyathea thomsonii:

Our websites:

Flora of Caprivi: cultivated Cyathea thomsonii
Flora of Malawi: Cyathea thomsonii
Flora of Mozambique: Cyathea thomsonii
Flora of Zambia: Cyathea thomsonii

External websites:

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

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: Cyathea thomsonii., retrieved 20 June 2024

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