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Incl. Bolbitidaceae, Elaphoglossaceae

Terrestrial, epiphytic or high-climbing epiphytes starting from the ground, rhizome short- or long-creeping or compact, dorsivental with a broad ventral vascular strand and 1 or more dorsal strands with several to many leaf-traces in the gaps, young parts bearing peltate-based, clathrate or non-clathrate scales. Fronds long-stipitate, the stipes jointed to the rhizome or phyllopodia or not, with several to many vascular strands arranged in a simple ring, the lamina simple, pinnate or bipinnate, the pinnae jointed to the rachis or not, veins free, or uniting near the margin, or anastomosing in several series of areoles with or without free included veinlets; distinct juvenile fronds (bathyphylls) present in climbing species, usually more dissected than adult fronds. Fertile fronds usually contracted, entirely covered with sporangia beneath, rarely the sporangia restricted to vein ends, indusia absent, paraphyses absent, annulus longitudinal, interrupted; spores monolete, with a smooth to undulate or winged perispore or perispore absent.


A pantropical family of 8 genera and over 550 species. In Papuasia there are 7 genera with a total of c. 65 species.


Copeland, E.B. 1928. Leptochilus and genera confused with it. Philip. J. Sci. 37: 333 - 416.

Copeland, E.B. 1949. Aspidiaceae of New Guinea. Philip. J. Sci. 78: 389 - 475.

Hennipman, E. 1977. A monograph of the fern genus Bolbitis (Lomariopsidaceae. Leiden Bot. Ser. 2: 1 - 331.

Holttum, R.E. 1932. On Stenochlaena, Lomariopsis and Teratophyllum on the Malayan region. Gard. Bull. Str. Set. 5: 245 - 313, f. 1 - 39, pl. 1 - 12.

Holttum, R.E. 1937. Further notes on Stenochlaena, Lomariopsis and Teratophyllum. Gard. Bull. Str. Set. 9: 139 - 144.

Holttum, R.E. 1937. The genus Lommagramma. Gard. Bull. Str. Settl. 9: 190 - 221.

Holttum, R.E. 1938. A redefinition of the genus Teratophyllum. Grad. Bull. Str. Settl. 9: 355 - 362.

Holttum, R.E. 1966. The genera Lomariopsis, Teratophyllum and Lomagramma in the islands of the Pacific and Australia. Blumea 14: 215 - 223.

Holttum, R.E. 1967. The fern genus Elaphoglossum in Malesia, with descriptions of new species.

Holttum, R.E. Lomariopsidaceae. Fl. Males. ser. 2, 1: 255 - 330. (Bolbitis by E. Hennipman).



Fronds of adult plants simply pinnate or bipinnate


Fronds of adult plants simple



Fronds of adult plants simply pinnate


Fronds of adult plants bipinnate

Teratophyllum (2)


Veins all free


Veins anastomosing



Pinnae jointed to the rachis; rhizome high-climbing with widely spaced fronds


Pinnae not jointed to the rachis; rhizome mostly short and terrestrial

Bolbitis (c. 6)


Terminal pinnae not jointed to the rachis at its base


Terminal pinna jointed at its base

Teratophyllum (2)


Fertile pinnae covered beneath with sporangia

Lomariopsis (3)

Sori separate at the ends of veins

Thysanosoria (1)


Pinnae jointed to the rachis; high-climbing plants

Lommagramma (6)

Pinnae not jointed to the rachis; short creeping plants

Bolbitis (c. 6)


Veins all free, or united at the margin only; fronds jointed to phyllopodia

Elaphoglossum (c. 40)

Veins freely anastomosing, no joint between frond and rhizome

Bolbitis (c. 6)


It has been suggested by Holttum 1978) that the discrete sori of Thysanosoria is an abnormal condition of Lomariopsis.

The single species of bipinnate Teratophyllum has been removed to the genus Arthrobotrya by some authors.

Because of differences to the remainder of the family, some authors have advocated removing Bolbitis and Elaphoglossum to their own families, Bolbitaceae and Elaphoglossaceae respectively.

Updated November 1999 by Jim Croft (