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Pteris vittata

Family Name: Pteridaceae
Synonyms: Pteris costata, Pteris diversifolia, Pteris ensifolia
Common Name: Chinese Brake Fern, Brake Fern, Chinese Ladder Fern, 蜈蚣草
Semi Shade Moderate Water Ornamental Leaves Ferns and Lycophytes Herbaceous Plant


Family Name
Genus Epithet
Species Epithet
Name Status (botanical)
Common Names

Classifications and Characteristics

Plant Division Ferns & Allies (Non-Seed Vascular Plants) (Fern)
Plant Growth Form Herbaceous Plant
Mode of Nutrition Autotrophic


Native Distribution Uncertain origin
Native Habitat Terrestrial
Preferred Climate Zone Tropical, Sub-Tropical / Monsoonal

Description and Ethnobotany

Growth Form Low-growing fern that forms small clumps, rhizome short and scaly.
Foliage Dark green fronds are pinnate, with pairs of pinnae (the small leaflet-like structure) lining a single axis. The fronds are odd pinnate, with the terminal pinna longer than the adjacent pinna. Stipes measuring about 20 cm long, fern blade measuring about 30 - 50 cm long.
Reproductive Parts - non-flowering plant Sporangia which produce the spores line both edges of each pinna. The sporangia are red with yellow spores.
Habitat In the wild, it is found in the lowland tropics in open areas. In urban settings, it often grows in drains or along old walls.
Etymology Genus Pteris is from the Greek word "pteruc" which is the Greek name of a fern. Species vittata refers to the fern character of being banded longitudinally. 
Ethnobotanical Uses [Others]: It is able to accumulate arsenic in soil and store it in the fronds at a 100 times higher concentration. Research is being conducted to explore its potential in phytoremediation, the use of plants to clean polluted environments.

Landscaping Features

Desirable Plant Features Ornamental Foliage
Plant & Rootzone Preference - Tolerance Moist Soils
Landscape Uses Parks & Gardens, Small Gardens

Fauna, Pollination and Dispersal

Seed or Spore Dispersal Abiotic

Plant Care and Propagation

Light Preference Semi-Shade
Water Preference Moderate Water
Plant Growth Rate Fast
Propagation Method Spore


Foliage Retention Evergreen
Mature Foliage Colour(s) Green


References Yong J, Tan PY, Nor Hafiz Hassan, Tan SN. 2010. A Selection of Plants for Greening of Waterways and Waterbodies in the Tropics. Singapore: Chung Printing . 480 pp.

Image Repository



Master ID 273
Species ID 1569
Flora Disclaimer The information in this website has been compiled from reliable sources, such as reference works on medicinal plants. It is not a substitute for medical advice or treatment and NParks does not purport to provide any medical advice. Readers should always consult his/her physician before using or consuming a plant for medicinal purposes.
Species record last updated on: 19 August 2021.