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Erect ground fern or climbing epiphyte starting from the ground, of small to moderate size, rhizome long-creeping and solenostelic, or compact, ascending and dictyostelic, the young parts clothed in narrow, dark, non-peltate scales. Fronds long-stipitate, the stipes dark and polished, with 2 ribbon-like, +/- parallel vascular strands uniting upwards, to form a single 4-angled strand, the lamina simple, pinnate or up to 4-pinnately decompound, the axes dark and polished, pinnules dimidiate or couneate-flabellate, glabrous or variously hair, the veins usually free, flabellate, dichotomously branched from the base, sometimes irregularly anastomsing. Sporangia borne on simple, parallel veins on the under surface of reflexed marginal lobes, the lobes a pseudoindusium completely protecting the sorus, reniform at the base of a notch, orbicular or elongate-oblong on a tooth or entire margin, or elongate and uninterrupted along the side of the pinnule, paraphyses lacking, sporangia on long, 3-seriate stalks, annulus longitudinal, interrupted. Spores trilete, sometimes monolete, dark, smooth.


A widespread family considered here to contain a single genus with over 200 species world wide; in Papuasia there are about 12 species.


Copeland, E.B. 1949. Pteridaceae of New Guinea. Philip. J. Sci. 78: 5 - 40.


A family of a single genus ... Adiantum (c. 12)


The family is considered here in the narrow sense. In some treatments the family is broadly interpreted to include members of the Cryptogrammitaceae, Hemionidaceae, Parkeriaceae and Sinopteridaceae (sometimes Pteridaceae and Vittariaceae as well), kept separate in this treatment.

Updated November 1999 by Jim Croft (