Pneumatopteris unita (Kunze) Holttum

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Pneumatopteris unita

Photo: Bart Wursten
Zovo Chipolo Trail, Nyika National Park

Pneumatopteris unita

Photo: Bart Wursten
Zovo Chipolo Trail, Nyika National Park

Pneumatopteris unita

Photo: Bart Wursten
Zovo Chipolo Trail, Nyika National Park

Pneumatopteris unita

Photo: Bart Wursten
Zovo Chipolo Trail, 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: Dryopteris madagascariensis (Fée) C.Chr.
Goniopteris patens Fée
Polypodium unitum (Kunze) Hook.
Thelypteris madagascariensis (Fée) Schelpe
Common names:
Status: Native
Rhizome erect to suberect. Fronds tufted, arching, proliferous on the rhachis near the apex, herbaceous. Stipe up to 60 cm long, pale brown, hairless, with a swollen aerophore at the base. Lamina up to 1.8 × 0.5 m, ovate-lanceolate to linear-oblong in outline, pinnate, apex with terminal pinna narrowly deltoid, lobed, lower pinnae hardly reduced in size, somewhat deflexed. Pinnae narrowly oblong, sessile, base truncate, apex long and abruptly tapering to a point, margin shallowly incised into broadly oblong, rounded, entire lobes with 4-5 pairs of veins meeting below the sinus; undersurface sparsely set with short white hairs on costae, costules and veins, upper surface with sporadic pale hairs. Rhachis pale brown, hairless, kinked where the gemmae emerge. Sori round, small, situated close to the costules in the basal half of each lobe; exindusiate.
Notes: Resembles Ampelopteris prolifera which has a several gemmae positioned along the rhachis, a shortly creeping rhizome, generally much smaller fronds and 5-7 pairs of veins meeting below the sinus; this species is not found in evergreen forest.
Pneumatopteris unita look for: a single gemmae, erect rhizome, 4-5 pairs of veins anostomosing.
Derivation of specific name: unita: united; refers to the several pairs of veins which meet (anostomose)below the sinus between adjacent pinna lobes.
Habitat: Seepage zones along streams or moist floors in shade in high-rainfall, evergreen forest.
Altitude range: 1000 - 2150 m
Worldwide distribution: Bioko, Burundi, DRC, Ethiopia, Kenya, Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Mozambique, Rwanda, South Africa, Sudan, Eswatini, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe.
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: Sunday 2 September 2018

Burrows, J.E. (1990). Southern African Ferns and Fern Allies. Frandsen, Sandton. Page 262. As Thelypteris madagascariensis (Includes a picture).

Burrows, J.E. & Burrows, S.M. (1993). An annotated check-list of the pteridophytes of Malawi Kirkia 14(1) Page 95.

Burrows, J.E. & Willis, C.K. (eds) (2005). Plants of the Nyika Plateau Southern African Botanical Diversity Network Report No. 31 SABONET, Pretoria Page 45. as Thelypteris madagascariensis (Includes a picture).

Chapano, C. & Mamuto, M. (2003). Plants of the Chimanimani District National Herbarium and Botanic Garden, Zimbabwe Page 55. As Thelypteris madagascariensis

Crouch, N.R., Klopper, R.R., Burrows, J.E. & Burrows, S.M. (2011). Ferns of Southern Africa, A comprehensive guide Struik Nature Pages 680 - 681. (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.

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 26. As Thelypteris madagascariensis

Jacobsen, W.B.G. (1983). The Ferns and Fern Allies of Southern Africa. Butterworths, Durban and Pretoria. Pages 399 - 400. (Includes a picture).

Kornas, J. (1979). Distribution and ecology of the Pteridophytes in Zambia Polska Akademia Nauk Wydzial II Nauk Biologicznych Page 92. As Thelypteris madagascariensis

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 10.

Roux, J.P. (2001). Conspectus of Southern African Pteridophyta. Southern African Botanical Diversity Network Report 13 Page 118. (Includes a picture).

Roux, J.P. (2009). Synopsis of the Lycopodiophyta and Pteridophyta of Africa, Madagascar and neighbouring islands Pages 208 - 209.

Schelpe, E.A.C.L.E. (1970). Pteridophyta Flora Zambesiaca Pages 196 - 197. As Thelypteris madagascariensis (Includes a picture).

Other sources of information about Pneumatopteris unita:

Our websites:

Flora of Caprivi: cultivated Pneumatopteris unita
Flora of Mozambique: Pneumatopteris unita
Flora of Zambia: Pneumatopteris unita
Flora of Zimbabwe: Pneumatopteris unita

External websites:

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

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: Pneumatopteris unita., retrieved 18 April 2024

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