Pleopeltis macrocarpa (Bory ex Willd.) Kaulf.

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Pleopeltis macrocarpa

Picture: Bart Wursten
Castleburn Cliffs, Vumba

Pleopeltis macrocarpa

Picture: Bart Wursten
Castleburn Cliffs, Vumba

Pleopeltis macrocarpa

Picture: Bart Wursten
Castleburn Cliffs, Vumba

Pleopeltis macrocarpa

Picture: Petra Ballings
Nyanga area

Pleopeltis macrocarpa

Picture: Petra Ballings
Stream below Silvermist cottage, Troutback

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

Synonyms: Pleopeltis ensifolia Carmich. ex Hook
Polypodium adspersum Schrad.
Polypodium lanceolatum sensu Sim
Polypodium lepidotum Willd. ex Schltdl.
Polypodium macrocarpum Bory ex Willd.
Common names:
Status: Native
Rhizome widely creeping, slender; rhizome scales lanceolate to ovate, peltate, brown with a darker central stripe and pale, lacerate margins, 2-3 mm long. Fronds spaced apart, simple, fleshy. Stipe up to 8 cm long, winged in the upper part, articulated to the rhizome, with a few scales with dark centre when young, becoming glabrous with age. Lamina evergreen, linear-lanceolate in outline, gradually tapering towards base and apex, margins entire to weakly wavy, up to 20 × 1.7 cm. Upper surface subglabrous, lower surface with several circular to lanceolate, peltate scales with dark centre and jagged margins. Sori round to oval, up to 5 mm in diameter, placed in 2 rows between costa and margin in the upper third to half of the lamina, exindusiate, covered with scale-like paraphyses when young.
Type location:
Notes: Can be distinguished from Lepisorus schraderi and L. excavatus by the prominent scales set on the undersurface of the lamina. Microgramma mauritiana has sori set on the lower part of the lamina (not the upper) and is glabrous.
Derivation of specific name: makros: large, karpon: fruit; referring to the large sori
Habitat: Epiphyte or lithophyte in riverine and montane forest or in moist woodland and scrub, moderately to deeply shaded.
Altitude range: 1330 - 2130 m
Worldwide distribution: Tropical and southern subtropical Africa; also tropical America, Hawaii, India, Réunion, Madagascar, St. Helena and Tristan da Cunha.
Zambian distribution (Flora Zambesiaca): N,C,E
Zambian distribution (Provinces): N,Mc,E,C
Growth form(s): Epiphyte, lithophyte.
Endemic status:
Red data list status:
Insects associated with this species:
Spot characters: Display spot characters for this species

Burrows, J.E. & Burrows, S.M. (1983). A check-list of the Pteridophytes of Zimbabwe. South African Journal of Botany 49(3) Pages 195 - 196. (Includes a picture).

Burrows, J.E. & Burrows, S.M. (1993). An annotated check-list of the pteridophytes of Malawi Kirkia 14(1) Page 90.

Burrows, J.E. & Willis, C.K. (eds) (2005). Plants of the Nyika Plateau Southern African Botanical Diversity Network Report No. 31 SABONET, Pretoria Page 38. (Includes a picture).

Chapano, C. & Mamuto, M. (2003). Plants of the Chimanimani District National Herbarium and Botanic Garden, Zimbabwe Page 44.

Crouch, N.R., Klopper, R.R., Burrows, J.E. & Burrows, S.M. (2011). Ferns of Southern Africa, A comprehensive guide Struik Nature Pages 568 - 569. (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 13. As Pleopeltis macrocarpa var. macrocarpa

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.

Jacobsen, W.B.G. (1983). The Ferns and Fern Allies of Southern Africa. Butterworths, Durban and Pretoria. Pages 309 - 310. (Includes a picture).

Kornas, J. (1979). Distribution and ecology of the Pteridophytes in Zambia Polska Akademia Nauk Wydzial II Nauk Biologicznych Page 78.

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 105. (Includes a picture).

Roux, J.P. (2009). Synopsis of the Lycopodiophyta and Pteridophyta of Africa, Madagascar and neighbouring islands Page 163.

Schelpe, E.A.C.L.E. (1970). Pteridophyta Flora Zambesiaca Pages 152 - 153. (Includes a picture).

Timberlake, J.R., Bayliss, J., Dowsett-Lemaire, F., Congdon, C., Branch, B., Collins, S., Curran, M., Dowsett, R,J., Fishpool, L., Francisco, J., Harris, Kopp, M. & de Sousa, C. (2012). Mt Mabu, Mozambique: Biodiversity and Conservation Report produced under the Darwin Initiative Award 15/036. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, London Page 71.

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

Other sources of information about Pleopeltis macrocarpa:

Our websites:

Flora of Caprivi: cultivated Pleopeltis macrocarpa
Flora of Malawi: Pleopeltis macrocarpa
Flora of Mozambique: Pleopeltis macrocarpa
Flora of Zimbabwe: Pleopeltis macrocarpa

External websites:

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

Copyright: Mike Bingham, Annette Willemen, Bart Wursten, Petra Ballings and Mark Hyde, 2011-24

Bingham, M.G., Willemen, A., Wursten, B.T., Ballings, P. and Hyde, M.A. (2024). Flora of Zambia: Species information: Pleopeltis macrocarpa., retrieved 5 March 2024

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