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shoestring fern

grass fern

Habit Plants epiphytic. Plants epiphytic.

short-creeping, branched, densely scaly;

scales brown, apex attenuate, filiform.


tapering at ends, end cells not swollen;

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

tapering at ends, end cells not swollen;

body cells 4, rhizoid primordia on each end cell.


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


protected by soral paraphyses that lack dilated terminal cells.




much branched.

much branched.


absent in flora.


= 120.

Vittaria lineata

Vittaria graminifolia

Habitat Epiphytic, most commonly on trunks of palms (Sabal palmetto Loddiges), in moist woods and especially along streams Epiphytic in dark, moist hollows formed by flaring root buttresses of beech (Fagus grandifolia Ehrhart)
Elevation 0–100 m (0–300 ft) 0–50 m (0–200 ft)
from FNA
FL; GA; Mexico; Central America; South America; West Indies
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from FNA
LA; Mexico; Central America; South America; West Indies
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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.)

Louisiana plants, known only from St. Helena Parish, are identical to gametophytes grown from sporophyte plants from Central America both morphologically and in starch gel enzyme electrophoresis patterns. Gametophyte colonies and possibly sporophytes of Vittaria graminifolia should be expected in similar habitats at additional sites along the Gulf Coast and in peninsular Florida. Sporophytes of V. graminifolia differ from those of V. lineata in having trilete spores, dilated terminal cells of the soral paraphyses, stem scales with acute (not long filiform) apices, and a chromosome number of 2n = 60. Earlier reports of sporophytes of V. graminifolia in Florida (as V. filifolia) have been shown to refer to aberrant forms of V. lineata (G. J. Gastony 1980).

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

Source FNA vol. 2. FNA vol. 2.
Parent taxa Vittariaceae > Vittaria Vittariaceae > Vittaria
Sibling taxa
V. appalachiana, V. graminifolia
V. appalachiana, V. lineata
Synonyms Pteris lineata V. filifolia
Name authority (Linnaeus) Smith Kaulfuss: Enum. Filic. 192. (1824)
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