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 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]

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

A remnant population exists in the Italian peninsula, in Sicily, Calabria and 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]