P. S. Green Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, Richmond, Surrey, tw9 3AB, England

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R.E.Holttum, Fl. Malaya (Ferns) 2nd edn, 2: 163–166 (1968).

Enum. Pl. Javae 206(1828)

T: Java, C.L.Blume; n.v. Epithet from the Latin decurrere (to run down), in reference to the frond base which is decurrent on the stipe.

Acrostichum listeri Baker, J. Linn. Soc., Bot. 25: 361 (1890); Gymnopteris listeri (Baker) Ridl., J. Straits Branch Roy. Asiat. Soc. 45: 248 (1906); Leptochilus listeri (Baker) C.Chr., Ind. Fil. 386 (1906).T: Christmas Is., Sept.–Oct. 1887, J.J.Lister; holo: K.

Illustrations: R.E.Holttum, Fl. Malaya (Ferns) 2nd edn, 2: 165, fig, 74 (1968); D.L.Jones, Encycl. of Ferns 241 (1987).

A terrestrial fern, sometimes forming small clumps; rhizome creeping; scales ovate, c. 3 mm long, minutely latticed, dark brown; fronds closely spaced near apex. Fronds dimorphic, the fertile fronds much narrower and held above the sterile ones. Sterile frond: stipe c. 10–25 cm long; lamina suberect, narrowly ovate to narrowly elliptic, c. 20–40 cm long, rarely forked, acute, undulating, gradually tapering into a narrow wing on stipe, glabrous, glossy; veins pinnate, distinct, with anastomosing veinlets between. Fertile frond: stipe erect, c. 20–50 cm long; lamina erect, very narrow, c. 10–20 cm long, 6–9 mm wide, narrowly decurrent, covered by sporangia beneath, except midvein and narrow margins.

Fig. 96A.v*****_f*****.jpg

Christmas Is. A terrestrial species sometimes growing on basaltic rock, but usually in deep, phosphate-rich soil. It is mostly confined to shaded positions in tall rainforest on the plateau, often growing with Bolbitis heteroclita and Corymborkis veratrifolia. A tropical and subtropical SE Asian species, distributed from India and SW China through Indo-China to Malesia as far as Sulawesi, preferring regions with some climatic seasonality.

Ch.Is.: no precise locality, C.W.Andrews 89 (K); Phosphate Hill, H.N.Ridley 176 (K); sheltered valley close to Aldrich Hill, D.A.Powell 457 (K); plateau, gully floor, line 256, D.J. & B.P.Du Puy CI18 (CBG, K); plateau, NE slope of Murray Hill, D.J.& B.P.Du Puy CI87 (CBG, K).

Leptochilus decurrens is often found with Bolbitis heteroclita, which it closely resembles in habit, both having narrow, fertile fronds with acrostichoid sporangia. It can be distinguished by its entire fronds. Despite this close resemblance, the 2 genera are currently classified in separate families due to differences in the rhizome anatomy, venation pattern, and the presence of articulated stipes.

Leptochilus listeri, described as a species of Acrostichum, was considered endemic on Christmas Is. (Baker, loc. cit.). It was compared to A. variabile Hook., now considered a synonym of L. decurrens, in the type description. There appears to be no character to justify the separation of the two taxa. A. variabile Hook. was described from Ceylon and the name has not been applied to Christmas Is. material.


Hort. Berol. 2: 110(1833)
from the Greek mikros (small), indicating the small sori of some species

Type: M. irregulare Link

Epiphytic, lithophytic or terrestrial ferns; rhizome short- to long-creeping; scales latticed, peltate, scattered mainly on rhizome; fronds scattered along rhizome. Stipe grooved above, sometimes ±absent; vascular strands various. Fronds erect to pendulous, simple to deeply pinnatisect, ±glabrous, sometimes coriaceous, articulate on rhizome; veinlets anastomosing, forming many areolae, with included, free veinlets. Sori small to large, circular, irregularly distributed or in rows on either side of midvein of lamina lobes; indusium absent; paraphyses sometimes present.

An Old World genus of c. 45–60 species, distributed from Africa and the Indian Oceanic islands through SE Asia and Malesia to Australia and the Pacific islands; 2 species on Christmas Is. They occur in various habitats, from damp, shaded rocks near streams to open sites exposed to full sun.

The genus is sometimes split into 2 genera, those with large sori and pinnatifid fronds being removed to the genus Phymatodes C.Presl. Most species can be easily placed in 1 of these 2 groups, but there is also an almost complete range of intermediate species. Many species are very variable and a full taxonomic revision of the genus is required.

R.E.Holttum, Fl. Malaya (Ferns) 2nd edn, 2: 170–180, 188–193 (1968) p.p. as Phymatodes; D.L.Jones & S.C.Clemesha, Austral. Ferns & Fern Allies 2nd edn, 169–172 (1981).

Fronds entire; sori small, c. 1 mm diam., irregularly scattered in upper half of frond

1. M. punctatum

Fronds mostly deeply pinnatisect; sori large, c. 2.5–4 mm diam., mostly in rows on either side of midveins of lobes

2. M. scolopendria

punctatum(L.) Copel.
Univ. Calif. Publ. Bot. 16: 111(1929)

Acrostichum punctatum L., Sp. Pl. 2nd edn, 2: 1524 (1763).T: China, J.Fothergill; n.v., apparently lost. Epithet from the Latin punctatus (spotted), in reference to the small, dot-like sori scattered over the apical half of the frond.

Polypodium irioides Poir. in, J.B.A.P.Lamarck, Encycl. 5: 513 (1804); Pleopeltis irioides (Poir.) T.Moore, Ind. Fil. 1: 78 (1857).T: Mauritius, Herb. J.B.A.P.Lamarck; holo: P, microfiche seen.

Illustrations: D.L.Jones & S.C.Clemesha, Austral. Ferns & Fern Allies 2nd edn, 170, fig. 227 (1981); D.L.Jones, Encycl. Ferns 243 (1987).

A robust, epiphytic or occasionally lithophytic fern, forming large clumps; rhizome creeping, glaucous; scales ovate, c. 2 mm long, peltate, acute, latticed, dark brown; fronds closely spaced. Fronds subsessile, articulate on short spurs from rhizome, erect to arching, linear-elliptic, entire, abruptly acute, c. 60–120 cm long, c. 6–11 cm wide, tapering to a broad or narrow wing at frond base, glabrous, somewhat coriaceous, pale green; venation pinnate, with many anastomosing veinlets, the veins not easily observed in living specimens. Sori small, to 1.5 mm diam., irregularly and often densely scattered in apical half of frond.

Christmas Is. Abundant as an epiphyte in the rainforest on the plateau and upper terraces, and on limestone pinnacles and rocks in open but humid sites. Occasionally in open situations among other ferns in old quarries. A common and widely distributed species in the lowland tropics and subtropics, from Africa, the Indian Oceanic islands, India and southern China, through Indo-China, the Philippines and Malesia to Australia (Qld) and the Pacific islands.

Ch.Is.: common everywhere, C.W.Andrews 108 (K); plateau, H.N.Ridley 194 (K); on Planchonella nitida, D.A.Powell 290 (K); Headridge Hill, below the wireless station, B.Molesworth Allen P7 (K); track to Grants Well, SW of Hanitch Hill, D.J. & B.P.Du Puy CI7 (CBG, K).

This species resembles Asplenium nidus L., but it forms untidy clumps rather than the characteristic rosettes of the Bird's Nest Fern. The root ball of A. nidus sometimes forms a suitably moisture-retentive substrate on which this species can flourish.

scolopendria(Burm.f.) Copel.
Univ. Calif. Publ. Bot. 16: 112(1929)

Polypodium scolopendria Burm.f., Fl. Ind. 232 (1768).T: India; n.v. Epithet from the Greek skolopendria (millipede), a name inspired by the appearance of the creeping rhizome.

Polypodium phymatodes L., Mant. Pl. 306 (1771); Pleopeltis phymatodes (L.) T.Moore, Ind. Fil. 1: 78 (1857).T: Herb. C.Linnaeus 1251.6; syn: LINN.

Illustrations: R.E.Holttum, Fl. Malaya (Ferns) 2nd edn, 2: 192, fig. 94 (1968), as Phymatodes scolopendria (Burm.f.) Ching; D.L.Jones & S.C.Clemesha, Austral. Ferns & Fern Allies 2nd edn, 171, fig. 229 (1981).

A terrestrial or lithophytic fern, forming spreading patches; rhizome creeping, glaucous; scales ovate, c. 4 mm long, peltate, acuminate, latticed, dark brown; fronds scattered, c. 2–5 cm apart. Stipe usually 15–45 cm long, articulate on a short spur from rhizome. Fronds stiffly erect, usually 25–50 cm long, pinnatisect, with 1–9 pairs of lobes, occasionally entire, glabrous, coriaceous, often yellowish; lobes narrowly oblong, acuminate, to 19 cm long, separated by broad sinuses; veinlets anastomosing. Sori large, circular, c. 2.5–4 mm diam., slightly sunken, usually in single rows on either side of midveins of lobes, sometimes in double rows in reduced fronds or very large fronds.

Christmas Is. Terrestrial or lithophytic, growing on limestone rock and poor soil in road cuttings, old quarries and other disturbed sites, often in full sun. Has become much more common following clearance of forest for phosphate mining. Distributed from Africa to SE Asia, including India, southern China and Indo-China, the Philippines and through Malesia to Australia (Qld, ?N.T., W.A.) and the Pacific islands (Polynesia).

Ch.Is.: rocks above Flying Fish Cove, H.N.Ridley 162 (K); Phosphate Hill, old quarry, D.A.Powell 126 (K); no precise locality, D.A.Powell 292 (K); old mine site, 0.5 km N of airport, R.Shivas 932 (PERTH); cutting on Irvine Hill Rd., D.J. & B.P.Du Puy CI4 (CBG, K).

This species is very variable in its frond morphology, and even very small fronds which are few-lobed or entire can be fertile. Specimens with 2 rows of sori on either side of midveins of the lobes are often placed in M. nigrescens (Blume) J.Sm.. Most specimens on Christmas Is. have single rows of sori, but occasionally the larger specimens, or specimens with reduced fronds, may bear double rows of sori. The specimens are otherwise identical, and it is not possible to recognise 2 distinct taxa on the basis of this character.


Hist. Nat. Veg. 3: 471, 5: 91(1802)
from the Greek pyros (fire), perhaps from the burnt appearance of the fertile portions of the fronds

Type: P. chinensis Mirb.

Epiphytic, lithophytic or terrestrial ferns; rhizome usually long-creeping, densely scaly; scales peltate or basally attached, sometimes ciliate, ±confined to the rhizome; fronds scattered. Stipe not deeply grooved, sometimes very short; vascular strands several. Fronds erect to pendulous, usually simple and entire, minutely stellate-hairy beneath, coriaceous, articulate on short spurs from rhizome, sometimes dimorphic, the fertile fronds or portions of fronds narrow and elongated; venation obscure, anastomosing. Sori circular, in 1–several rows on either side of midvein, usually confined to apical half of frond, sometimes confluent; indusium absent; paraphyses present.

The 51 species in this Old World genus are distributed from Africa and Madagascar throughout SE Asia including India, China, Japan and Indo-China, the Philippines and Malesia to Australia, the SW Pacific islands and New Zealand; 1 variable species on Christmas Is. The greatest diversity is in SE Asia. They mainly occur in regions with high rainfall and humidity but also tolerate seasonally dry climates.

R.E.Holttum, Fl. Malaya (Ferns) 2nd edn, 2: 141–149 (1968); D.L.Jones & S.C.Clemesha, Austral. Ferns & Fern Allies 2nd edn, 197–199 (1981); P.Hovenkamp, A monograph of the genus Pyrrosia (1986).

lanceolata(L.) Farw.
Amer. Midl. Nat. 12: 245(1930)

Acrostichum lanceolatum L., Sp. Pl. 2: 1067 (1753).T: Sri Lanka, Herb. P.Hermann vol. 1, fol. 3, no. 380; syn: BM. Epithet from the Latin lanceolatus (lanceolate, but which in the sense of C.Linnaeus meant narrowly elliptic), in reference to the shape of the fronds.

Polypodium adnascens Sw., Syn. Fil. 25, 222, t. 2, fig. 2 (1806); Niphobolus adnascens (Sw.) Kaulf., Enum. Filic. 124 (1824).T: India, J.P.Rottler s.n.; n.v.

Illustrations: R.E.Holttum, Fl. Malaya (Ferns) 2nd edn, 2: 145, fig. 60 (1968), as Pyrrosia adnascens (Sw.) Ching; D.L.Jones & S.C.Clemesha, Austral. Ferns & Fern Allies 2nd edn, 198, fig. 272, t. 30 (1981).

Epiphytic fern, often forming extensive colonies; rhizome slender, wiry, creeping, scaly; scales appressed, narrowly ovate, c. 3 mm long, peltate, acuminate, ciliate, becoming chocolate-brown; fronds scattered, c. 1.5–3.5 cm apart. Stipe c. 2–4 cm long, stellate-hairy. Fronds suberect to pendulous, linear to elliptic, c. 5–20 cm long, obtuse, acute or acuminate, entire, decurrent, the margins often incurved, minutely stellate-hairy beneath, coriaceous, dimorphic, the fertile fronds longer and narrower than the sterile fronds, usually fertile only in apical half. Sori circular, densely covering fertile portion of frond, the outer sporangia maturing first, with a central cluster of paraphyses.

Christmas Is. Abundant high in the canopy of trees in the plateau rainforest, on small trees in scrubby forest, even in exposed situations such as the edge of the inland cliffs. The creeping and much-branched rhizome forms a tangle of intercrossing shoots, allowing the fern to cover entire branches. Common throughout Malesia and widely distributed in Africa, Madagascar and the Mascarenes, and from India and southern China through Indo-China, the Philippines and Malesia to Australia (Qld) and the SW Pacific islands.

Ch.Is.: no precise locality, D.A.Powell 226 (K); Phosphate Hill, B.Molesworth Allen P2 (K); Grants Well, R.Shivas 809 (PERTH); walk to West White Beach, R.Shivas 923 & 924 (PERTH); fallen branch on drill line near track to Grants Well, D.J. & B.P.Du Puy CI12 (K).

The fronds are used for dressing cuts in some of the Pacific islands.


A.E.OrchardAustralian Biological Resources Study, GPO Box 767, Canberra, Australian Capital Territory, 2601(M.Is.)

Relatively small epiphytic or rock-dwelling ferns; rhizomes erect or tufted or creeping, scaly. Fronds entire or pinnate; petiole continuous (not articulate); lamina with long stiff hairs, or glabrous. Sori round or oval, unprotected; sporangium with a 1-rowed stalk; spores tetrahedral–globose and green (containing chlorophyll). Gametophyte at first filamentous, later elongate or cordate.

A family of about 6–10 genera and 200–400 species, the majority of which belong to Grammitis. The family is distributed from S America to New Zealand, Australia and Malaysia, with a few species extending to subantarctic regions.; 1 genus on Macquarie Is.

Some authors treat this group as a tribe of the cosmopolitan family Polypodiaceae.


J. Bot. (Schrader) 1800 (2): 3, 17(1801)
from the Greek gramme (a line), in reference to the sori which are often elongate or coalescing

Type: G. marginella (Sw.) Sw.

Fronds entire, linear to spathulate, glabrous or hairy. Sori naked, round, oval or elongate, often oblique, in a single row on either side of midrib, remote from margins.

Finger Ferns.

A genus of 150–400 species, distributed as for the family, in humid forests, shrubland and herbfields; about 10 species in Australia, 1 of which extends to Macquarie Is.

T.F.Cheeseman, Vasc. Fl. Macquarie Is. 40 (1919), as Polypodium; B.W.Taylor, Fl. Veg. Soils Macquarie Is. 155–156 (1955), as Polypodium; B.S.Parris, A revision of the genus Grammitis Sw. (Filicales: Grammitidaceae) in Australia, Bot. J. Linn. Soc. 70: 21–43 (1975); B.S.Parris, An analysis of the Grammitis poeppigianaG. magellanica complex in the South Atlantic and south Indian Oceans, Fern Gaz. 12: 165–168 (1981); G.R.Copson, An Annotated Atlas of the Vascular Flora of Macquarie Island, ANARE Res. Notes 18: 26 (1984).

poeppigiana(Mett.) Pic.-Serm.
Webbia 32: 461(1978)

Polypodium poeppigiana Mett., Polyp. 37 (1857).T: Cape of Good Hope, E.F.Poeppig; B n.v., fide B.S.Parris & D.R.Given, New Zealand J. Bot. 14: 90 (1976).

G. nana Brack., U.S. Expl. Exped., Filic. 16: 1 (1854), non Fée (1853).T: Orange Harbour, Tierra del Fuego, C.Wilkes; holo: US n.v.; iso: K n.v., fide B.S.Parris & D.R.Given, loc. cit.

G. australis var. nana Franch., Mission Sci. Cap. Horn 5 Bot.: 397 (1889); Polypodium billardierei f. nana (Franch.) Skottsb., Kongl. Svenska. Vetenskapsakad. Handl. 56: 167 (1916); Grammitis billardierei f. nana (Franch.) de la Sota, Opera Lilloana 5: 208 (1960).T: Packsaddle Anchorage, Tierra del Fuego, Hahn; holo: P n.v., fide B.S.Parris & D.R.Given, op. cit. 91.

G. armstrongii Tindale, Contr. New South Wales Natl. Herb. 3(2): 88 (1961).T: Thredbo River Gorge, Kosciusko, N.S.W., Jan. 1951, L.A.S.Johnson & E.F.Constable NSW P3086; holo: NSW n.v; iso: US n.v.

G. kerguelensis Tardieu, Adansonia 2: 114 (1962) T: Kerguelen Is., Butte aux Fougères Molloy, Cours; holo: P n.v., fide B.S.Parris & D.R.Given, op. cit. 91.

Illustrations: B.S.Parris, Bot. J. Linn. Soc. 70: 27 fig. 1A, B (1975), as G. armstrongii; B.S.Parris & D.R.Given, New Zealand J. Bot. 14: 90, figs 1. 2a & b. (1976), as G. armstrongii; B.D.Duncan & G.Isaac, Ferns & Allied Pl. Victoria, Tasmania & S. Australia 148, fig. 14.1 (1986).

Terrestrial, mat-forming; rhizome prostrate, slender, creeping, freely branched, densely scaly; scales papery, brown, ovate, 2.5–4 mm long, 1–1.5 mm wide; fronds crowded. Lamina entire, spathulate to narrowly oblanceolate, 7–28 mm long, 1.5–4 mm wide, but usually 10–16 mm long and 2–4 mm wide, tapering to base, rounded at tip, coriaceous, glabrous or young fronds with sparse, red-brown, septate hairs on margins and midrib; veins indistinct. Sori 1 or 2 towards tip of frond, tending to coalesce into 1 more or less circular mass. Spores c. 0.05 mm diam., greenish.

Macquarie Is. Widespread but rare in rock crevices and in cushions of Azorella and bryophytes. Extends from southern S America (Chile and Argentina) to Falkland, South Georgia, Tristan da Cunha, Gough, Kerguelen, Marion, Crozet and Macquarie Islands, South Africa, south-eastern Australia (including Tas.) and New Zealand (North, South, Stewart, Campbell and Auckland Islands).

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