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Pteris vittata
Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum

Pteris vittata L., 1753

Species:P. vittata
Common Names:Rusty Brake, Ladder Brake, Chinese Ladder Brake, Paku Uban Bukit


The short rhizome is erect to suberect and covered with narrow, thin scales that are pale green when young and pale brown when old. The stipe is 5-50 cm long with fronds that are 20-100 cm long arranged in simple pinnate pattern along the rachis and ending with a terminal pinna. The pinna are 1-4 cm apart, the middle ones longest, reducing gradually in length towards the base. The upper pinnae are only slightest reduced and much shorter that the terminal. The longest pinna is 15 x 0.7-1 cm. The sori are linear and submarginal, with a thin indusium when young formed from the  thin reflexed margin of the lamina. Nearly all fertile pinnae in mature plants are fertile except the reduced basal ones.

Read more about the Polypodiales order.
Read more about the Pteridaceae family.


Widely distributed in the tropics and subtropics of the Old World.

General Biology

This is a common terrestrial fern of open country, sometimes it grows on old walls.

Life Cycle

For an account of the life history of a fern, see Pyrrosia piloselloides.

Human Uses

The fern has potential as an ornamental plant.


de Winter, W. P. & V. B. Amoroso (eds.), 2003. Plant resources of South-East Asia No. 15(2). Cryptogams: Ferns and fern allies. Prosea Foundation, Borgor, Indonesia. 268 pp.

Holttum, R. E., 1966. A revised flora of Malaya. II Ferns of Malaya. Govt. Printing Office, Singapore (2nd ed.). 653 pp.

Parris, B. S., R. Khew, R. C. K. Chung, L. G. Saw & E. Soepadmo (eds.), 2010. Flora of Peninsular Malaysia. Series I: Ferns and Lycophytes. Vol. 1. Malayan Forest records No. 48. Forest Research Institute of Malaysia, Kepong. 249 pp.

Wee, Y. C., 2005. Ferns of the tropics. Times Editions-Marshall Cavendish, Singapore. 2nd ed. 190 pp.

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