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

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Christmas Is. Collected only once in an area recently extensively mined, but may still exist on the remaining rock outcrops or gullies. This species is of local occurrence throughout Malesia and in north-eastern Qld, Australia.

Ch.Is.: North West Point, C.W.Andrews 94 (BM, K).

Vegetative propagation can occur naturally in this species, through the development of buds in the pinna axils of old, sterile fronds which have collapsed onto the soil.


PteridrysC.Chr. & Ching
Bull. Fan Mem. Inst. Biol. 5: 129–130(1934)
from the resemblance of the frond venation to certain species of the fern genus Pteris

Type: P. syrmatica (Willd.) C.Chr. & Ching

Terrestrial or lithophytic ferns; rhizome erect, covered by persistent stipe bases. Stipe conspicuously grooved; vascular strands several, small. Fronds suberect, mostly bipinnatisect; pinnae and the apical pinna usually all similar, occasionally the basal pinnae with elongated pinnules (not on Christmas Is.); sinuses between pinna lobes with a small, prominent tooth at base; veins all free. Sori circular, small, on lamina beneath, usually at apex of veinlets in lobes; indusium reniform; paraphyses absent.

A small genus of c. 10 species, distributed from India and S China through Indo-China, the Philippines and Malesia including New Guinea; 1 species is native to Christmas Is. The species usually occur in shaded forest habitats.

R.E.Holttum, Fl. Malaya (Ferns) 2nd edn, 2: 529–532 (1968).

syrmatica(Willd.) C.Chr. & Ching
Bull. Fan Mem. Inst. Biol. 5: 131, t. 11, 17(1934)

Aspidium syrmaticum Willd., Sp. Pl. 5: 237 (1810); Lastrea syrmatica (Willd.) T.Moore, Ind. Fil. 2: 105 (1857); Nephrodium syrmaticum (Willd.) Hook. & Baker, Syn. Fil. 272 (1868).T: [Chile, Peru], Herb. C.L.Willdenow 19765; holo: B, microfiche seen. Epithet from the Latin syrma (a trailing robe), in reference to the long, slender apices of the pinnae.

Illustrations: R.E.Holttum, Fl. Malaya (Ferns) 2nd edn, 2: 529, fig. 311, 531, fig. 312 (1968).

Terrestrial fern, usually solitary; rhizome short, erect; scales narrowly ovate, c. 6–8 mm long, auriculate, brown; fronds in a crown. Stipe c. 20–35 cm long, slender, grooved above, with scattered, basal scales. Fronds suberect to arching, c. 23–38 cm long, glabrous, firm-textured, bipinnatisect, the terminal pinna similar to laterals; pinnae oblong, c. 8–15 cm long, subsimilar, pinnatisect, abruptly long-acuminate and serrate, truncate at base with stalks c. 4–12 mm long; lobes narrowly oblong, usually 10–20 mm long, obtuse, serrate, with a prominent, small tooth at sinus base; veins all free. Sori small, circular, in single rows on either side of midveins of pinna lobes; indusium reniform, thin.

Fig. 97C–D.v*****_f*****.jpg

Christmas Is. Frequent in the primary rainforest on the plateau and upper terraces, in deep or sometimes shallow soil, often surrounded by a carpet of Bolbitis heteroclita, or among shrubs. The most common species in the genus, distributed in southern India and Sri Lanka, and from Indo-China and the Philippines through Malesia including New Guinea.

Ch.Is.: no precise locality, C.W.Andrews (K); Flying Fish Cove, H.N.Ridley 185 (K); 1 km N of Stewart Hill, D.J. & B.P.Du Puy CI14 (CBG, K).

This species can be easily distinguished from Tectaria species by its uniformly pinnatisect pinnae without any pinnules, and the presence of a conspicuous tooth at the base of each of the sinuses between the lobes.


D.J.Du Puy (Ch.Is.)Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, Richmond, Surrey TW9 3AB, England

Terrestrial, climbing or epiphytic ferns; rhizomes creeping or high-climbing, dorsiventral with roots only on the ventral side, often with minutely latticed scales. Stipe with several vascular strands, forming a U-shape in T.S. Fronds simple, pinnate or rarely bipinnate, the fertile frond often reduced; veins free or anastomosing, the areoles without free veins. Sporangia acrostichoid, densely covering undersurface, or part of it, in fertile fronds; indusium and paraphyses absent.

A largely tropical family containing c. 6 genera; 1 genus on Christmas Is.


Gen. Fil. 3, t. 14(1835)
from the Greek bolbos (a bulb), in allusion to the vegetative buds which occur on the apical portion of the frond in the type species

Type: B. serratifolia (Mert. ex Kaulf.) Schott

Mainly terrestrial or lithophytic ferns; rhizome creeping, rooting ventrally; scales usually minutely latticed, auriculate at base, on rhizome and stipe base; fronds usually closely spaced. Stipe and rachis weakly Z-grooved above; vascular strands several, forming a U-shape in T.S. Fronds simple or pinnate, not jointed, dimorphic, often with bulbils. Sterile frond: apical pinna similar to lateral pinnae, sometimes long-attenuate; pinnae sessile or subsessile, entire to lobed and toothed, narrowly decurrent, with midvein and lateral veins pinnate, and free or anastomosing veinlets between. Fertile frond usually reduced, the pinnae narrow; sporangia acrostichoid; paraphyses and indusium absent.

A pantropical and subtropical genus containing c. 44 species; 2 species in Australia (Qld); 1 species native to Christmas Is. The species usually occur on rocks but are occasionally terrestrial or climbing and epiphytic. They mostly prefer damp habitats, such as stream gullies, in evergreen or seasonally dry forest.

R.E.Holttum, Fl. Malaya (Ferns) 2nd edn, 2: 461–470 (1968); E.Hennipman, A monograph of the fern genus Bolbitis (Lomariopsidaceae), Leiden Bot. Ser. no. 2 (1977); E.Hennipman, Fl. Males. ser. II, 1: 314–330 (1978); D.L.Jones & S.C.Clemesha, Austral. Ferns & Fern Allies 2nd edn, 104–106 (1981).

heteroclita(C.Presl) Ching in C.Chr.
Ind. Fil. Suppl. 3: 48(1934)

Acrostichum heteroclitum C.Presl, Rel. Haenk. 15, t. 2, fig. 2 (1825).T: Luzon, Philippines, T.P.X.Haenke s.n.; n.v. Epithet from the Greek heteros (different, various) and klitos (bent), indicating the dimorphic sterile and fertile fronds, the fertile fronds being held more erect.

Acrostichum flagelliferum Wall. ex Hook. & Grev., Icon. Fil. t. 23, p.p. (1827); Gymnopteris flagellifera (Wall. ex Hook. & Grev.) Bedd., Suppl. Ferns Brit. Ind. 27 (1892).T: cult. Calcutta, 1820, N.Wallich s.n.; holo: K.

Illustration: R.E.Holttum, Fl. Malaya (Ferns) 2nd edn, 2: 464, fig. 271 (1968).

Terrestrial, mat-forming fern; rhizome shortly creeping, sometimes climbing to c. 50 cm; scales narrowly ovate, c. 4 mm long, minutely latticed, dark brown; fronds closely spaced. Fronds dimorphic, the fertile fronds reduced and held above the sterile frond. Sterile frond: stipe c. 15–25 cm long; lamina horizontal, usually with 5–7 pinnae, the apical pinna frequently with an elongated, slender apex to 30 cm long, often bearing a subapical plantlet; pinnae narrowly elliptic, c. 6–15 cm long, acuminate, ±crenate and serrulate, cuneate at base, ±glabrous, subessile; veins pinnate with anastomosing veinlets forming areoles between. Fertile frond: stipe c. 20–30 cm long; lamina erect; pinnae narrow, c. 3–10 cm long, entirely covered by sporangia beneath.

Fig. 96B.v*****_f*****.jpg

Christmas Is. Common, forming extensive mats in the rainforest, usually in shaded habitats, especially where the soil is deep, mainly on the plateau and uppermost terrace. A tropical and subtropical species distributed in SE Asia from India to southern Japan, through Indo-China to Malesia and the SW Pacific islands.

Ch.Is.: Phosphate Hill, C.W.Andrews 126 (K); plateau, H.N.Ridley 177 (K); no precise locality, D.A.Powell 227 (K); Headridge Hill, B.Molesworth Allen P4 (K); central plateau, R.Shivas 878 (PERTH).

This is an extremely variable species throughout its range. The above description refers to the variant on Christmas Is. It spreads by vegetative propagation, the long whip-like apex of the sterile frond producing a plantlet near the tip, which eventually touches and forms roots into the soil at some distance from the parent plant.


D.J.Du Puy (Ch.Is.)Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, Richmond, Surrey TW9 3AB, England

Small to large, terrestrial or epiphytic ferns; rhizomes erect, creeping or climbing, densely covered with peltate scales; stipe usually articulate on rhizome, with several vascular strands forming a U-shape in T.S. Fronds either simple or variously dissected; veins usually free. Sori solitary at vein tips, dorsal or submarginal; indusium attached and sometimes also along the sides (pouch-shaped), or reniform or sometimes peltate, rarely lacking; paraphyses absent.

A pantropic family of 4 genera; 3 genera on Christmas Is.


1 Indusium pouch shaped


1: Indusium reniform

2 Rhizome wiry, climbing on tree trunks and buttresses, with scattered fronds


2: Terrestrial ferns with short, erect rhizomes, the fronds in a crown



Mem. Acad. Sci. Turin 5: 414, t. 9(1793)
probably after Edmund Davall, a seventeenth century, English botanist

Type: D. canariensis (L.) Sm.

Epiphytic, lithophytic or rarely terrestrial ferns; rhizome thick, creeping, densely scaly; scales peltate, toothed to ciliate, confined to rhizome; fronds scattered. Stipe ±terete to grooved, articulate on short projection from rhizome; vascular strands several, forming a U-shape in T.S. Fronds large, triangular, finely dissected, rarely trifoliolate, sometimes coriaceous, usually ±glabrous, the fertile frond often with slightly narrower segments; pinnae gradually reduced towards frond apex; veins all free. Sori semicircular to narrowly oblong, ±marginal; indusium pouch-shaped, opening only at margin of lamina; paraphyses absent.

Rabbits Foot Ferns.

A genus of c. 35–40 species, distributed from SE Asia through Malesia to Australia and the Pacific islands, with 2 species occurring in Africa and 1 in SW Europe; 3 species occur in Australia (Qld) and 2 of these are also native to Christmas Is. These 2 species are very similar but occupy distinct niches, one being epiphytic in tall rainforest, the other commonly occurring in exposed sites in old mined areas. The stout rhizome and rather thick-textured fronds, which are articulated to the rhizome and can therefore be deciduous, allow these species to tolerate dry periods in exposed situations.

This genus is popular in cultivation, having attractive, finely divided fronds and a thick, conspicuous rhizome with a dense, soft, red-brown indumentum of narrow scales (giving rise to the common name of Rabbits Foot Ferns).

R.E.Holttum, Fl. Malaya (Ferns) 2nd edn, 2: 354–363 (1968); D.L.Jones & S.C.Clemesha, Austral. Ferns & Fern Allies 2nd edn, 123–125 (1981).

Epiphyte; fronds thin-textured; false veins absent; sori narrowly oblong, c. 1 mm long, 0.5 mm wide

1. D. solida

Lithophyte or terrestrial; fronds rather coriaceous; false translucent veins present between veinlets; sori cup-shaped, c. 1 mm long, 1 mm wide

2. D. denticulata

solida(G.Forst.) Sw.
J. Bot. (Schrader) 1800(2):
87 (1801)

Trichomanes solidum G.Forst., Prodr. 86 (1786).T: locality unknown, G.Forster 308; syn: BM. Epithet is the Latin word for strong, robust, or sturdy, in reference to the large size.

Illustrations: R.E.Holttum, Fl. Malaya (Ferns) 2nd edn, 2: 358, fig. 207 (1968); D.L.Jones & S.C.Clemesha, Austral. Ferns & Fern Allies 2nd edn, 125, fig. 140 (1981); D.L.Jones, Encycl. Ferns 207 (1987).

Epiphytic fern, often forming extensive clumps on large branches; rhizome creeping, branched, thick, densely scaly; scales c. 6 mm long, very narrow and tapering to a fine apex, soft, ginger-brown; fronds rather distant. Stipe c. 30–40 cm long, grooved, glabrous, articulated at base. Fronds arching to semi-pendulous, triangular, c. 40–70 cm long, finely 4-pinnatisect, glabrous, deep green; pinnae alternate; pinnules deeply lobed, the lobes narrow, serrate; veins free, branched, without false veins between. Sori narrowly oblong (cigar-shaped), c. 1 mm long, 0.5 mm wide, with 1 or 2 teeth exceeding apex; indusium opening only along outer margin.

Giant Hares Foot.

Christmas Is. A common species, most plentiful in the taller rainforest on the plateau, mainly high up on the larger branches of tall, canopy or emergent trees such as Planchonella nitida and Syzygium nervosum, but often seen on fallen branches on the forest floor. Occurs from Taiwan, Indo-China and the Philippines through Malesia to Australia (Qld) and the Pacific islands.

Ch.Is.: no precise locality, Sept.–Oct. 1887, J.J.Lister (K); common in forest on trees, C.W.Andrews 82 (BM, K); no precise locality, 1908, C.W.Andrews 206 (BM); Irvine Hill, H.N.Ridley 174 (K); S of field 22 south, D.J. & B.P.Du Puy CI10 (CBG, K).

A very handsome, epiphytic fern with finely dissected, lacy fronds and softly brown-scaly rhizomes. It is readily grown in cultivation. May be deciduous in the dry season.

denticulata(Burm.f.) Mett. ex Kuhn
Fil. Deck. 27(1867)

Adiantum denticulatum Burm.f., Fl. Ind. 236 (1768).T: Java: ?G n.v. Epithet from the Latin dentatus (toothed), in reference to the small teeth on the pinnule margins.

D. dissecta Sm. ex J.Houlst & T.Moore, Gard. Mag. Bot. 3: 325 (1851).T: Java, cult., Rollisson; n.v.

Illustrations: R.E.Holttum, Fl. Malaya (Ferns) 2nd edn, 358, fig. 206 (1968); D.L.Jones & S.C.Clemesha, Austral. Ferns & Fern Allies 2nd edn, 124, fig. 138 (1981).

A lithophytic or terrestrial fern, forming clumps; rhizome creeping, branched, thick, densely scaly; scales very narrow and tapering to a fine apex, c. 6 mm long, soft, chestnut-brown; fronds rather distant. Stipe c. 20–40 cm long, flattened above, glabrous, articulated at base. Fronds arching, triangular, c. 30–50 cm long, finely 4-pinnatisect, glabrous, yellow-green, rather coriaceous; pinnae often subopposite; pinnules deeply lobed, the lobes serrate; veins free, branched, with translucent, false veins between. Sori pouch-shaped, c. 1 mm long, 1 mm wide, with 1 or 2 teeth exceeding apex; indusium opening only along outer margin.

Christmas Is. Common on old mined areas with limestone pinnacles and poor, thin soil, and occasionally on exposed limestone cliffs and scree, especially on the plateau and upper terrace. It is rarely epiphytic. A widely distributed species in SE Asia, from southern India and SW China, through Indo-China, the Philippines and Malesia to Australia (Qld) and the New Hebrides.

Ch.Is.: common on cliffs, C.W.Andrews 81 (BM); Flying Fish Cove, H.N.Ridley 173 (K); limestone ridge, 0.8 km S of camp 4, D.A.Powell 109 (K); plateau, fallen Ficus bole, D.J. & B.P.Du Puy CI19 (K); Ross Hill, exposed limestone cliff and boulder slope, D.J. & B.P.Du Puy CI55 (CBG, K).

This species closely resembles D. solida, differing distinctly in the shape of the sori. They are usually separated by habitat preference, but occasional specimens of D. denticulata occur as forest epiphytes, along with D. solida, and intermediate specimens appear to occur, perhaps through hybridisation. May be deciduous in the dry season.


ArthropterisJ.Sm. in J.D.Hooker
Fl. Nov.-Zel. 2: 43, t. 82(1854)
from the Greek arthron (a joint) and pteris (a fern), in reference to the jointed fronds and pinnae

Type: A. tenella (G.Forst.) J.Sm. ex Hook.f.

Small, climbing ferns, sometimes epiphytic or lithophytic; rhizome very long, slender, creeping, branched; scales peltate, on rhizome and stipe; fronds scattered. Stipe articulate on short projections from the rhizome, grooved; vascular strand circular. Fronds erect to pendulous, pinnate to bipinnatisect; rachis shortly hairy with multiseptate hairs; pinnae articulate on rachis, entire to deeply lobed, oblique at base, often with acroscopic auricles, the apical pinna similar to the lateral pinnae, or a pinnatifid, tapering lamina; veins much-branched, free. Sori intramarginal, at ends of veinlets; indusium present and reniform, or absent; paraphyses absent.

A genus of 15–20 species, distributed throughout the Old World tropics from Africa and the Indian Oceanic islands through Indo-China, southern China and Malesia to Australia and the Pacific islands; 1 species on Christmas Is. They are usually found as climbers or epiphytes on trees in damp, shaded forest.

R.E.Holttum, The genus Arthropteris J.Sm. in Malesia, Blumea 14: 225–229 (1966); D.L.Jones & S.C.Clemesha, Austral. Ferns & Fern Allies 2nd edn, 80–81 (1981); R.M.Tryon & A.F.Tryon, Ferns & Allied Pl. 590–591 (1982).

palisotii(Desv.) Alston
Bol. Soc. Brot. ser., 2, 30: 6(1956)

Aspidium palisotii Desv., Ges. Naturf. Freunde Berlin Mag. Neusten Entdeck. Gesammten Natuurk. 5: 320 (1811).T: Oware, W Africa, A.M.F.J.Palisot de Beauvois; n.v. Named after A.M.F.J.Palisot de Beauvois (1752–1820), a French traveller and botanist.

Aspidium ramosum P.Beauv., Fl. Oware 2: 54, t. 91 (1821); Nephrolepis ramosa (P.Beauv.) T.Moore, Ind. Fil. 104 (1858).T: Oware, W Africa, near Buonopozo, A.M.F.J.Palisot de Beauvois; n.v.

Illustration: D.L.Jones & S.C.Clemesha, Austral. Ferns & Fern Allies 2nd edn, 80, fig. 62 (1981).

Climbing fern to c. 6 m., sometimes epiphytic; rhizome climbing, branched, wiry; scales peltate, dark brown, appressed; fronds c. 3–8 cm apart. Fronds horizontal to drooping, subsessile, jointed to a 1–3 mm long spur, 12–40 cm long, pinnate, the pinnae reduced towards base and apex, the terminal pinna resembling laterals or fused with uppermost pinnae; rachis grooved above, pubescent; pinnae alternate, closely spaced, sessile, jointed, oblong, c. 1–3 mm long, strongly unequal-sided, rounded, weakly sinuate, truncate and auriculate at base; midvein pubescent; veins pinnately branched, free. Sori circular, in a single row on either side of pinna midvein, sometimes also in auricles; indusium reniform, glabrous.

Christmas Is. Occasional in the primary rainforest on the plateau, usually climbing on tree trunks and buttresses in deep shade. A widespread species, distributed throughout tropical Africa, and from the Mascarenes, Sri Lanka, Burma and southern China through Malesia to the Pacific islands and Australia (Qld, N.S.W.).

Ch.Is.: no precise locality,

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