Cheilanthes multifida (Sw.) Sw.

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Cheilanthes multifida

Photo: Petra Ballings
Higher slopes of Mt Nhamudimu, Chimanimani Mts

Cheilanthes multifida

Photo: Petra Ballings
Higher slopes of Mt Nhamudimu, Chimanimani Mts

Cheilanthes multifida

Photo: Petra Ballings
Higher slopes of Mt Nhamudimu, Chimanimani Mts

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Synonyms: Adiantum globatum Poir.
Adiantum multifidum Sw.
Cheilanthes bolusii Baker
Common names:
Status: Native
Rhizome short, creeping, up to 4 mm in diameter; rhizome scales brown with pale margins, awl-shaped, margin (sub)entire, up to 3.5 mm long. Fronds tufted, erect, rigid, herbaceous to coriaceous. Stipe dark brown to almost black, up to 42 cm long, shallowly grooved, glabrous but with brown narrow scales at the extreme base. Lamina 5-32 cm × 2.5-28 cm, ovate-deltate in outline, 3-pinnate to 5-pinnatifid; lowest pinnae together almost as long as the lamina, basiscopically developed. Pinnules triangular-oblong to deltate-lanceolate in outline, cut to the midrib into oblong-ovate, rounded, crenate lobes, venation obscure, free, both surfaces subglabrous. Rhachis and secondary rhachises castaneous to black, hairless. Sori small, round, marginal, discrete; indusium small, semicircular, pale, erose to lacerate, membranous.
Notes: Could be confused C. bergiana which is lightly hairy, has underground stolons and is a forest species.
Two subspecies may be distinguished depending on whether the indusium is erose (subsp. multifida, not in Mozambique) or lacerate (subsp. lacerata, in Mozambique).
Derivation of specific name: multifida: with many divisions, referring to the finely divided lamina.
Habitat: Rock crevices and around boulders in grassland, margins of sheetrock, forest margins in high rainfall areas.
Altitude range: 430 - 2400 m
Worldwide distribution: Angola, Burundi, DRC, Ethiopia, Kenya, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, St. Helena, Sudan, Eswatini, Tanzania, Zambia, Zimbabwe.
Mozambique distribution: Z,T,MS,M
Growth form(s): Lithophyte, terrestrial.
Endemic status:
Red data list status:
Insects associated with this species:
Spot characters: Display spot characters for this species

Burrows, J.E. (1990). Southern African Ferns and Fern Allies. Frandsen, Sandton. Pages 150 - 152. C. multifida subsp. multifida and subsp. lacerata (Includes a picture).

Burrows, J.E. & Burrows, S.M. (1993). An annotated check-list of the pteridophytes of Malawi Kirkia 14(1) Page 88.

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. as Cheilanthes multifida lacerata

Chapano, C. & Mamuto, M. (2003). Plants of the Chimanimani District National Herbarium and Botanic Garden, Zimbabwe Page 13. As Cheilanthes multifida multifida

Chapano, C. & Mugarisanwa, N.H. (2003). Plants of the Matobo District National Herbarium and Botanic Garden, Zimbabwe Page 8. As Cheilanthes multifida multifida

Crouch, N.R., Klopper, R.R., Burrows, J.E. & Burrows, S.M. (2011). Ferns of Southern Africa, A comprehensive guide Struik Nature Pages 400 - 403. C. multifida subsp. multifida and subsp. lacerata (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.

Jacobsen, W.B.G. (1983). The Ferns and Fern Allies of Southern Africa. Butterworths, Durban and Pretoria. Pages 264 - 266. (Includes a picture).

Kornas, J. (1979). Distribution and ecology of the Pteridophytes in Zambia Polska Akademia Nauk Wydzial II Nauk Biologicznych Page 51.

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 65.

Roux, J.P. (2009). Synopsis of the Lycopodiophyta and Pteridophyta of Africa, Madagascar and neighbouring islands Pages 183 - 184.

Schelpe, E.A.C.L.E. (1970). Pteridophyta Flora Zambesiaca Page 123.

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

Other sources of information about Cheilanthes multifida:

Our websites:

Flora of Malawi: Cheilanthes multifida
Flora of Zambia: Cheilanthes multifida
Flora of Zimbabwe: Cheilanthes multifida

External websites:

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

Copyright: Mark Hyde, Bart Wursten, Petra Ballings and Meg Coates Palgrave 2007-24

Hyde, M.A., Wursten, B.T., Ballings, P. & Coates Palgrave, M. (2024). Flora of Mozambique: Species information: Cheilanthes multifida., retrieved 29 February 2024

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