Pteris vittata

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Pteris vittata
Pteris vittata.jpg
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Pteridophyta
Class: Pteridopsida
Order: Polypodiales
Family: Pteridaceae
Subfamily: Pteridoideae
Genus: Pteris
Species: P. vittata
Binomial name
Pteris vittata
L. [1]
  • Pteris costata Bory
  • P. diversifolia Sw.
  • P. ensifolia Poir.
  • P. inaequilateralis Poir.
  • P. longifolia Wall.
  • P. microdonata Gaudin
  • P. vittata fo. cristata Ching in Ching & S.H.Wu
  • Pycnodoria vittata (L.) Small

Pteris vittata, commonly known variously as the Chinese brake,[3] Chinese ladder brake,[3] or simply ladder brake,[3] is a fern species in the Pteridoideae subfamily of the Pteridaceae.[4] It is indigenous to Asia, tropical Africa and Australia.[3] The type specimen was collected in China by Pehr Osbeck.[1]

Habitat and distribution[edit]

Ladder Brake Fern growing on a brick wall Chatswood, Australia

Pteris vittata is often associated with limestone habitats. It may be seen growing on concrete structures and cracks, in buildings in the central business district and suburbs of Sydney, Australia.[5][6]

Pteris vittata is native and widespread in the paleotropics: found from the east, to the south tropical, and southern Africa (in Angola; Kenya; Lesotho; Malawi; Mozambique; Namibia; Tanzania (including the Zanzibar Archipelago); Cape Province, Free State, KwaZulu-Natal, and Transvaal in South Africa; Swaziland; Uganda; Zambia; and Zimbabwe); temperate and tropical Asia (in the provinces of Anhui, Gansu, Guangdong, Guangxi, Guizhou, Hubei, Jiangxi, Sichuan, Xizang, and Yunnan in China; the prefectures of Honshu, Kyushu, Shikoku, and the Ryukyu Islands of Japan; and Thailand); and Australia, in the states of New South Wales,[5] Queensland, Victoria, and Western Australia.[3]

It is an introduced species in California, Texas, and the Southeastern United States.[7]

A relictuous presence is certificated in the Italian peninsula, in Sicily, Calabria, Campania.[8]


Although it grows readily in the wild, Pteris vittata is sometimes cultivated.[3] It is grown in gardens for its attractive appearance,[3] or used in pollution control schemes:[3] it is known to be a hyperaccumulator plant of arsenic used in phytoremediation.[9]

Suggested reading[edit]

  • Cong Tu and Lena Q. Ma ; Effects of Arsenic Concentrations and Forms on Arsenic Uptake by the Hyperaccumulator Ladder Brake, Journal of Environmental Quality doi:10.2134/jeq2002.6410 Vol. 31 No. 2, p. 641-647 (résumé)


  1. ^ a b  Pteris vittata was originally described and published in Species Plantarum 2: 1074. 1753. "Name - Pteris vittata L.". Tropicos. Saint Louis, Missouri: Missouri Botanical Garden. Retrieved November 3, 2011. 
  2. ^ "Name - Pteris vittata L. synonyms". Tropicos. Saint Louis, Missouri: Missouri Botanical Garden. Retrieved November 3, 2011. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h GRIN (July 18, 2007). "Genus epithet information from NPGS/GRIN". Taxonomy for Plants. National Germplasm Resources Laboratory, Beltsville, Maryland: USDA, ARS, National Genetic Resources Program. Retrieved November 3, 2011. 
  4. ^ Christenhusz, Maarten J. M.; Zhang, Xian-Chun; Schneider, Harald (18 February 2011). "A linear sequence of extant families and genera of lycophytes and ferns" (PDF). Phytotaxa 19: 7–54. ISSN 1179-3163. 
  5. ^ a b "Pteris vittata, PlantNET - NSW Flora Online, Retrieved June 23, 2011". 
  6. ^ Les Robinson - Field Guide to the Native Plants of Sydney, ISBN 978-0-7318-1211-0 page 318
  7. ^ . accessed 9/19/2010
  8. ^ Giardina G. (2010). Piante rare della Sicilia. Palermo: Università degli Studi di Palermo. ISBN 9788890310836. 
  9. ^ Wilkins, Carolyn, and Salter, Leo. (2003). Arsenic hyperaccumulation in ferns: A review. Environmental Chemistry Group Bulletin of the Royal Society of Chemistry. July 2003 edition.

External links[edit]