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Incl. Nephrolepidaceae

Erect ground ferns, or scandent epiphytes starting from the ground; rhizome with peltate-based scales, long-creeping, or short and erect and bearing stolons, dictyostelic. Fronds short- or long-stipitate, vascular bundles 1, 2 or several, arranged in a V- or U-shape, lamina simple or pinnate, the pinnae articulate to the rachis, glabrous or sometimes finely hairy, veins 1 - 2 (-3) forked, free, terminating short of the margin or at the margin. Sporangia in discrete round sori in a single row either side of the midrib, superficial or terminal on a vein, or elongate-marginal and served by several veins, mostly with a round-reniform indusium opening outwards, or an elongate-marginal indusium opening outwards, or exindusiate; annulus longitudinal, interrupted; spores monolete.


A family of 4 genera with c. 120 species from most of the tropical and subtropical regions of the world. Three genera with c. 25 species occur in Papuasia.


Copeland, E.B. 1940. Oleandrid ferns (Davalliaceae) of New Guinea. Philip. J. Sci. 73: 354 - 357.

Holttum, R.E. 1954 (revised 1965). Ferns of Malaya. A revised flora of Malaya. Volume 2. Govt. Printer, Singapore. 1 - 643.

Holttum, R.E. 1966. The genus Arthropteris in Malesia. Blumea 14: 225 - 229.



Fronds pinnate, the pinnae jointed to the rachis, the stipe jointed to phyllopodia or not


Fronds simple, jointed to the phyllopodia

Oleandra (c. 7)


Stipes jointed to the rhizome or to phyllopodia; no proliferous runners

Arthropteris (5)

Stipes continuous with the rhizome; rhizome producing proliferous runners

Nephrolepis (c. 10)


In some treatments this family is included in the Davalliaceae to which it is probably related but differs in articulations of fronds and pinnae and the structure of stipes and rachises.

Updated November 1999 by Jim Croft (