Actiniopteris radiata

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Actiniopteris radiata
Actiniopteris radiata01.jpg
Actiniopteris radiata00.jpg
Conservation status
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Pteridophyta
Class: Polypodiopsida
Order: Polypodiales
Family: Pteridaceae
Genus: Actiniopteris
Species: A. radiata
Binomial name
Actiniopteris radiata
(J. Koenig ex Sw.) Link

Actiniopteris radiata ('Actiniopteris' - 'ray fern') is a widely distributed fern occurring throughout Africa and adjacent islands, Madagascar, Arabia, Iran, Afghanistan, Nepal, India, Sri Lanka, Burma and Australia.[1]

This species is found in hot, dry habitats, growing at the base of rocks and in crevices, but also on deep soil in shady places. It is common in deciduous woodland with perennially high temperatures and low rainfall, ranging from 500m to 1300m.

The distinctive fronds issue from a prostrate rhizome and are somewhat dimorphic. The laminae are 15-45mm long and fan-shaped with a spread of some 180 degrees, the tip of each segment bearing 2-5 teeth. [2]

Tests have shown that an aqueous and ethanolic extract of Actiniopteris radiata exhibits potent analgesic properties and antibacterial activity against Salmonella typhi and Escherichia coli. The species also shows anti-fertility, styptic, anthelmintic and anti-tubercular properties. Major chemical constituents are hentriacontane, hentriacontanol, β-sitosterol, β-sitosterol palmitate, β-sitosterol-D-glucoside and quercetin-3-rutinoside [3][4]

There are 4 species in the genus:

  • Actiniopteris dimorpha Pichi-Serm.; Webbia 17: 18, f.2 (1962)
  • A. pauciloba Pichi-Serm.; Webbia 17: 21, f.3 (1962)
  • A. radiata (Koenig ex Swartz) Link; Fil. Sp. 80 (1841)
  • A. semiflabellata Pichi-Serm.; Webbia 17: 24, f.4 (1962)

In 1992 Botswana issued a postage stamp by Gillian Condy depicting this species. [1]


  • Acrostichum dichotomum [family PTERIDACEAE], [sensu Forssk., Fl. Aegypt.-Arab.: 184 (1775), non L.]
  • Asplenium radiatum Sw. [family ASPLENIACEAE], in J. Bot. (Schrader) 1800 (2): 50 (1801)
  • Acrostichum radiatum (Sw.) Poir. [family PTERIDACEAE], Encycl. Méth. Bot. Suppl. 1: 128 (1810)
  • Acropteris radiata (Sw.) Link [family ASPLENIACEAE], Hort. Berol 2: 56 (1833)
  • Pteris radiata (Sw.) Bojer, Hort. Maurit.: 399 (1837)
  • Asplenium polydactylon Webb [family ASPLENIACEAE], Spic. Gorgon. in Hook. Niger Fl.: 193 (1849). Type: Cape Verde Is., Webb (? FI, holo.)
  • Actiniopteris australis [family ACTINIOPTERIDACEAE], [sensu Sim, Ferns S. Afr. ed. 2: 250, t. 34/2 (1915), non (L.f.) Link]
  • Actiniopteris australis var. radiata (Sw.) C. Chr.

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