Schizaea pectinata, the toothbrush fern, cockscomb fern or curly grass fern, at first glance resembles the restios more than the ferns. It is an attractive, low-growing grassy plant growing a tuft of erect, undivided fronds that reach about 30 cm in height.
The way in which the coiled, green fronds unfurl in spring to straighten from a seemingly wound up positions, is a give-away clue of being a fern, not a restio.
The wide distribution is from the Western Cape around the Cederberg, along the south and east coasts to the Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal, the Mpumalanga and Limpopo Lowveld, as well as tropical Africa as far as Tanzania and the islands Madagascar and St. Helena. This plant was photographed in Bainskloof during October.
The habitat is fynbos, grassland, dune veld, forest and thicket, often on rocky slopes away from water, the well-drained soils mostly sandy or quartzitic. S. pectinata is commonly seen during the first year after fire. The species is not considered threatened in habitat early in the twenty first century (Privett and Lutzeyer, 2010; Bean and Johns, 2005; Manning and Goldblatt, 1996; iSpot; http://redlist.sanbi.org).