kids encyclopedia robot

Pteris vittata facts for kids

Kids Encyclopedia Facts
Quick facts for kids
Pteris vittata
Pteris vittata.jpg
Scientific classification
  • Pteris costata Bory
  • P. diversifolia Sw.
  • P. ensifolia Poir.
  • P. inaequilateralis Poir.
  • P. longifolia Wall.
  • P. microdonata Gaudin
  • P. vittata fo. cristata Ching in Ching & S.H.Wu
  • Pycnodoria vittata (L.) Small

Pteris vittata, commonly known variously as the Chinese brake, Chinese ladder brake, or simply ladder brake, is a fern species in the Pteridoideae subfamily of the Pteridaceae. It is indigenous to Asia, southern Europe, tropical Africa and Australia. The type specimen was collected in China by Pehr Osbeck.

Habitat and distribution

Brick Fern Chatswood Primary School
Ladder Brake Fern growing on a brick wall Chatswood, Australia

Pteris vittata is native and widespread in the paleotropics: found from the east, to the south tropical, and southern Africa (in Angola; Kenya; Lesotho; Malawi; Mozambique; Namibia; Tanzania (including the Zanzibar Archipelago); Cape Province, Free State, KwaZulu-Natal, and Transvaal in South Africa; Swaziland; Uganda; Zambia; and Zimbabwe); temperate and tropical Asia (in the provinces of Anhui, Gansu, Guangdong, Guangxi, Guizhou, Hubei, Jiangxi, Sichuan, Xizang, and Yunnan in China; the prefectures of Honshu, Kyushu, Shikoku, and the Ryukyu Islands of Japan; and Thailand); and Australia, in the states of New South Wales, Queensland, Victoria, and Western Australia.

Pteris vittata is often associated with limestone habitats. It may be seen growing on concrete structures and cracks, in buildings in the central business district and suburbs of Sydney, Australia. It is an introduced species in California, Texas, and the Southeastern United States.

A remnant population exists in the Italian peninsula, in Sicily, Calabria and Campania.


Although it grows readily in the wild, Pteris vittata is sometimes cultivated. It is grown in gardens for its attractive appearance, or used in pollution control schemes: it is known to be a hyperaccumulator plant of arsenic used in phytoremediation.

  • Cong Tu and Lena Q. Ma; Effects of Arsenic Concentrations and Forms on Arsenic Uptake by the Hyperaccumulator Ladder Brake, Journal of Environmental Quality Vol. 31 No. 2, p. 641-647 (résumé)
kids search engine
Pteris vittata Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.