Pteris cretica L.

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Pteris cretica

Photo: Bart Wursten
Along northern loop, Nyika National Park

Pteris cretica

Photo: Bart Wursten
Along northern loop, Nyika National Park

Pteris cretica

Photo: Bart Wursten
Along northern loop, Nyika National Park

Pteris cretica

Photo: Bart Wursten
Along northern loop, Nyika National Park

Pteris cretica

Photo: Bart Wursten
Along northern loop, Nyika National Park

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

Synonyms: Pteris cretica L. var. plurilobata Bonap.
Pteris nervosa Thunb.
Pteris pentaphylla Willd.
Pteris serraria Sw.
Common names: Avery fern (English)
Status: Native
Rhizome shortly creeping; rhizome scales lanceolate, entire, dark brown, up to 3 mm long. Fronds tufted, up to 1.2m long, erect to arching, firmly herbaceous to coriaceous, dimorphous with the fertile fronds taller and with narrower pinnae than that of the sterile fronds. Stipe up to 60 cm in sterile fronds and up to 90 cm in fertile fronds, strawcoloured to brown and scaly at the base, glabrous. Sterile lamina 13-55 × 13-38 cm, ovate in outline, pinnate in the upper part, the lower part basiscopically developed, terminal pinnae larger or as long as the longest lateral pinnae; pinnae linear-lanceolate, apex tapering to a point, base cuneate, margins toothed, glabrous on both surfaces, veins free. Fertile lamina up to twice as large as the sterile lamina, pinnate with basal pinnae basiscopically developed; pinnae narrowly linear to narrowly lanceolate in outline, apex tapering to a point, base tapering, 7-13 mm wide, margin entire, glabrous on both surfaces. Sori linear, marginal, continuous, extending almost up to the apex; indusium membranous, entire.
Derivation of specific name: cretica: from Crete; misleading as the species does not naturally occur on Crete.
Habitat: In shade in forest undergrowth, streambanks, shaded ravines, roadside embankments.
Altitude range: 1000 - 2400 m
Worldwide distribution: Widespread in eastern South Africa and the mountains of east tropical Africa, Ascension I., Madagascar, Réunion and in Asia to Japan, and in southern Europe.
Malawi distribution: N,C,S
Growth form(s): Terrestrial.
Endemic status:
Red data list status:
Insects associated with this species:
Spot characters: Display spot characters for this species
Content last updated: Wednesday 10 October 2018

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

Burrows, J.E. & Willis, C.K. (eds) (2005). Plants of the Nyika Plateau Southern African Botanical Diversity Network Report No. 31 SABONET, Pretoria Page 40. (Includes a picture).

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 318 - 319. (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 14.

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.

Jacobsen, W.B.G. (1983). The Ferns and Fern Allies of Southern Africa. Butterworths, Durban and Pretoria. Pages 236 - 237. (Includes a picture).

Kornas, J. (1979). Distribution and ecology of the Pteridophytes in Zambia Polska Akademia Nauk Wydzial II Nauk Biologicznych Page 68.

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 Pages 78 - 79. (Includes a picture).

Roux, J.P. (2009). Synopsis of the Lycopodiophyta and Pteridophyta of Africa, Madagascar and neighbouring islands Page 171.

Schelpe, E.A.C.L.E. (1970). Pteridophyta Flora Zambesiaca Pages 116 - 117.

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

Other sources of information about Pteris cretica:

Our websites:

Flora of Caprivi: cultivated Pteris cretica
Flora of Mozambique: Pteris cretica
Flora of Zambia: Pteris cretica
Flora of Zimbabwe: Pteris cretica

External websites:

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

Copyright: Mark Hyde, Bart Wursten, Petra Ballings and Meg Coates Palgrave, 2014-24

Hyde, M.A., Wursten, B.T., Ballings, P. & Coates Palgrave, M. (2024). Flora of Malawi: Species information: Pteris cretica., retrieved 16 July 2024

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