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Vittaria ensiformis
Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum

Vittaria ensiformis Sw., 1799

Species:V. ensiformis
Common Names:Shoestring Fern


The rhizome is short-creeping and slender, bears fronds close together with roots that are covered with numerous brown hairs. The fronds are simple, narrow and entire, sessile, 35 x 0.6 cm and gradually narrowing to the base. The midrib is generally indistinct. The linear sori are in an almost marginal groove with the edge of the frond reflexed. Initially the sori are more or less covered by the reflexed edge and the raised inner rim of the groove. With maturity the developing sporangia force the two apart.

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


From Madagascar to Australia.


All over the island, especially in the open where thers are trees.

Locality Map

General Biology

This is a very common epiphytic fern, growing below the nests of Staghorn Ferns (Platycerium coronarium) and Bird's Nest Ferns (Asplenium nidus), also from the persistent old frond bases of the Oil Palm (Elaeis guineensis).

Life Cycle

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


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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