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shoestring fern

shoestring fern

Habit Plants epiphytic.

short-creeping, branched, densely scaly;

scales brown, apex attenuate, filiform.

densely scaly.


tapering at ends, end cells not swollen;

body cells 4–16, rhizoid primordia on each end cell, often on 1–2 medial cells.


10–60 cm × 1–3 mm, petioles indistinct.

pendent, linear.


anastamosing in single row of areolae on each side of midrib.


in single submarginal groove on each side of midrib.


protected by soral paraphyses that lack dilated terminal cells.




much branched.

0.5–2 × 0.5–1 cm;

gemmae uniseriate, 2–5 mm, borne at apices of aerial branches;

body cells 2–16;

rhizoid primordia cells 0–4.


= 120.

Vittaria lineata


Habitat Epiphytic, most commonly on trunks of palms (Sabal palmetto Loddiges), in moist woods and especially along streams
Elevation 0–100 m (0–300 ft)
from FNA
FL; GA; Mexico; Central America; South America; West Indies
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[BONAP county map]
from USDA
Worldwide in tropics and subtropics
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Sporophytes, now extirpated, once occurred on rock cliffs at a single site in Lincoln County, east central Georgia. Vittaria lineata is now known outside of Florida only in Camden County, in southeastern Georgia. Gametophytes commonly form the dominant cover on moist logs and tree trunks, especially the bases of Sabal palmetto palms, within the range of the sporophyte. Such populations usually contain numerous small, sexually produced sporophytes.

(Discussion copyrighted by Flora of North America; reprinted with permission.)

Species ca. 50 (3 in the flora).

(Discussion copyrighted by Flora of North America; reprinted with permission.)

1. Stem scales tapering to long filiform tips; soral paraphyses without dilated terminal cells; spores monolete.
V. lineata
1. Gemmae variable in length; body cells 2-16, rhizoid primordia present or absent.
→ 2
2. Gemmae with 4-16 body cells, end cells equal to or smaller than medial cells; rhizoid primordia on some medial cells and regularly on end cells; sporophytes frequently produced.
V. lineata
2. Gemmae with 2-12 body cells but at least some 2-3-celled gemmae present, end cells often swollen and larger than medial cells; rhizoid primordia often absent on 1 or both end cells, seldom present on medial cells; sporophytes not produced.
V. appalachiana
Source FNA vol. 2. FNA vol. 2.
Parent taxa Vittariaceae > Vittaria Vittariaceae
Sibling taxa
V. appalachiana, V. graminifolia
Subordinate taxa
V. appalachiana, V. lineata
Synonyms Pteris lineata
Name authority (Linnaeus) Smith Smith
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