Vittaria - Adiantaceae

Vittaria isoetifolia Bory

Photo: P. Ballings

Photo: P. Ballings

Photo: P. Ballings

Photo: . ©Botanic Garden Meise (BR)






Oetosis isoetifolia (Bory) Greene
Vittaria gueinzii Trevis.
Vittaria sarmentosa Ruiz ex Fée
Vittaria tenera Fée
Pteropsis angustifolia Pappa & Raws

Common name


Rhizome shortly creeping, branched, c. 3 mm in diameter; rhizome scales brown, 8-12 mm long, narrowly lanceolate, clathrate, apex tapering to a pointed, margins finely toothed. Fronds numerous, tufted (spaced 1-5 mm apart), simple, up to 90 cm long, coracious, pendulous. Stipe green, drying to brown. Lamina 1-3 mm wide, 8-65 cm long, linear, dark green above, paler below, glabrous on both surfaces. Midrib and veins not visible. Sori in two deep intramarginal grooves, often extending to the whole length of the frond; indusium continuous, on both sides of each soral row.


Can be separated from other species by its narrow leaves, green stipe base, rhizome scales that lack a hair-pointed apex and have margins with strong thorn-like projections.


isoetifolia: with leaves like Isoetes, a genus of fern allies with linear, grass-like fronds.


Epiphytic in moist evergreen forest.

Distribution worldwide

Comoro Isl., Kenya, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Réunion, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Zimbabwe.

Distribution in Africa

Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania , Zimbabwe.

Growth form

Epiphytic, lithophytic.


  • Burrows, J.E. (1990) Southern African Ferns and Fern Allies. Frandsen, Sandton. Pages 108 - 110. (Includes a picture).
  • Crouch, N.R., Klopper, R.R., Burrows, J.E. & Burrows, S.M. (2011) Ferns of Southern Africa, A comprehensive guide. Struik Nature. Pages 438 - 439. (Includes a picture).
  • Jacobsen, W.B.G. (1983) The Ferns and Fern Allies of Southern Africa. Butterworths, Durban and Pretoria. Pages 213 - 314. (Includes a picture).
  • Roux, J.P. (2001) Conspectus of Southern African Pteridophyta.Southern African Botanical Diversity Network Report, 13 Page 83. (Includes a picture).
  • Roux, J.P. (2009) Synopsis of the Lycopodiophyta and Pteridophyta of Africa, Madagascar and neighbouring islands. Strelitzia 23, South African National Biodiversity Institute, Pretoria. Page 74.
  • Schelpe, E.A.C.L.E. (1970) Pteridophyta.Flora Zambesiaca, 0 Page 94. (Includes a picture).
  • Verdcourt, B. (1999) Vittariaceae.Flora of Tropical East Africa, Pages 2 - 3. (Includes a picture).