Pteris vittata Ladder brake

Epithet means "longitudinally striped."

Evergreen to deciduous, 1 to 3 ft. (30 to 90 cm). Zones 9 and

10. Apogamous.

Pteris vittata and Adiantum capillus-veneris at home on the walls of the Castillo de San Marcos in Saint Augustine, Florida.

Pteris vittata and Adiantum capillus-veneris at home on the walls of the Castillo de San Marcos in Saint Augustine, Florida.

description: The rhizome is compact. Heavily scaled stipes are greenish brown and one-sixth to one-fifth of the frond length. Once-pinnate blades are lanceolate, broadest above the middle, with 15 to 25 pairs of ladderlike horizontal pinnae. Marginal sori are enclosed in false indusia.

range and habitat: The species is native to Europe, Asia, and South America and has naturalized over a wide area of the southern and southwestern United States. It prefers limestone sites from masonry walls, such as those on historic Florida buildings, to basic rich understories in lightly forested areas.

culture and comments: The height is variable based on habitat, but this species is easily introduced to warm gardens where it can grow terrestrially or tucked into the mortar on walls. it is special for other than ornamental purposes, however, ever since it was discovered in the early 2000s that it absorbs arsenic from soil and water. It has received some well-de

Petris Vittata
Red, white, and green blend in colorful harmony on Pteris tricolor at Henry's Plant Farm.

served press and wide distribution for recovery projects where it is efficiently removing toxins while remaining far more ornamental and environmentally peaceful than backhoes and steady processions of dump trucks.

'Benzilan' from China is 3 ft. (90 cm) tall and hardy in Zone 7b.

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