Vittaria, the shoestring ferns,[1] is a genus of ferns in the Vittarioideae subfamily of the family Pteridaceae.[2] It had previously been placed in the family Vittariaceae,[3] but that family is no longer recognized.[4]

Vittaria consists of epiphytes, with simple, entire, narrowly linear fronds.[5] It comprises six species, five of which are native to the neotropics. Vittaria isoetifolia is native to tropical Africa and islands of the southwestern Indian Ocean.[6] Vittaria isoetifolia and Vittaria lineata are known, albeit rarely, in cultivation.[7]

Vittaria was named by James Edward Smith in 1793 [8] in Mémoires de l'Académie Royale des Sciences (Turin).[9] The generic name is derived from the Latin, vitta, meaning "a band or ribbon".[10]

In 1990, Vittaria was defined broadly and estimated to have between 50 and 80 species.[3] The genus is difficult to divide into species, and many of the species are only doubtfully distinct. In a 1997 revision of the vittarioid ferns, only 34 species were recognized in Vittaria sensu lato.[6] Twenty of these were transferred to Haplopteris and eight to Radiovittaria, leaving only six in Vittaria.[6]


Phylogeny of Vittaria[11][12]

V. isoetifolia Bory 1804

V. lineata L. Sm. 1793 (Shoestring fern)

V. appalachiana Farrar & Mickel 1991 (Appalachian shoestring remote)

V. graminifolia Kaulf. 1824 (Grass fern)

V. scabrida Klotzsch ex Fée 1851 (doubtfully distinct from V. graminifolia)

Other species include:

  • V. flavicosta Mickel & Beitel 1988
  • V. longipes Sodiro 1893


  1. ^ USDA, NRCS (n.d.). "Vittaria". The PLANTS Database ( Greensboro, North Carolina: National Plant Data Team. Retrieved 6 August 2015.
  2. ^ Christenhusz, Maarten J. M.; Zhang, Xian-Chun; Schneider, Harald (18 February 2011). "A linear sequence of extant families and genera of lycophytes and ferns" (PDF). Phytotaxa. 19: 7–54. doi:10.11646/phytotaxa.19.1.2. ISSN 1179-3163.
  3. ^ a b Karl U. Kramer. 1990. "Vittariaceae". pages 272-277. In: Klaus Kubitzki (general editor); Karl U. Kramer and Peter S. Green (volume editors) The Families and Genera of Vascular Plants volume I. Springer-Verlag: Berlin;Heidelberg, Germany. ISBN 978-0-387-51794-0
  4. ^ Alan R. Smith, Kathleen M. Pryer, Eric Schuettpelz, Petra Korall, Harald Schneider, and Paul G. Wolf. 2008. "Davalliaceae". pages 443-444. In: "Fern Classification". pages 417-467. In: Tom A. Ranker and Christopher H. Haufler (editors). Biology and Evolution of Ferns and Lycophytes. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0-521-87411-3
  5. ^ David J. Mabberley. 2008. Mabberley's Plant-Book third edition (2008). Cambridge University Press: UK. ISBN 978-0-521-82071-4
  6. ^ a b c Edmund H. Crane. 1997. "A Revised Circumscription of the Genera of the Fern Family Vittariaceae". Systematic Botany 22(3):509-517.
  7. ^ Anthony Huxley, Mark Griffiths, and Margot Levy (1992). The New Royal Horticultural Society Dictionary of Gardening. The Macmillan Press,Limited: London. The Stockton Press: New York. ISBN 978-0-333-47494-5 (set).
  8. ^ Vittaria in International Plant Names Index. (see External links below).
  9. ^ James Edward Smith. 1793. Mémoires de l'Académie Royale des Sciences (Turin) 5:413, pl. 9.
  10. ^ Umberto Quattrocchi. 2000. CRC World Dictionary of Plant Names volume IV, page ?. CRC Press: Boca Raton; New York; Washington,DC;, USA. London, UK. ISBN 978-0-8493-2673-8 (set). (see External links below).
  11. ^ Nitta, Joel H.; Schuettpelz, Eric; Ramírez-Barahona, Santiago; Iwasaki, Wataru; et al. (2022). "An Open and Continuously Updated Fern Tree of Life". Frontiers in Plant Science. 13: 909768. doi:10.3389/fpls.2022.909768. PMC 9449725. PMID 36092417.
  12. ^ "Tree viewer: interactive visualization of FTOL". FTOL v1.5.0 [GenBank release 256]. 2023. Retrieved 17 August 2023.

External links