Pteris cretica

Pteris cretica.

Ribbon or brake fern.

Division Pteridophyta > Order Polypodiales > Family Pteridaceae.

An evergreen, clump forming, terrestrial fern.
There is a short, scaly, creeping rhizome.
The thin stalks, dark brown to black at the base and paler above have scales at the base.

The sterile fronds are up to 40 cm high and fertile fronds are 60 cm or more.
The lamina is roughly ovate and up to 40 cm long.
It is once divided with from 2 to 7 pairs of narrow, widely spaced leaflets and a terminal one.

The lowest pair of leaflets are partially divided again into 2 or 3 segments.
The lower pairs are stalked, up to 25 cm long with acute or finely toothed tips.
The upper 3 leaflets have a minute stalk or none with the blade runing down the midrib.

Fertile leaflets are narrower (up to 11 mm wide), toothed, with bases that may run down the midrib.
Sporangia are in rows at the leaflet edge but not at the tip.
There is a false indusium formed by the leaflet margin folding over them.

P. cretica var. albolineata differs only by the fronds having wider leaflets with a pale centre.