Nephrolepis brownii (Desv.) Hovenkamp & Miyam,

Hovenkamp PH & Miyamoto F, 2005, A conspectus of the native and naturalized species of Nephrolepis (Nephrolepidaceae) in the world, Blumea 50, pp. 279-322: 293-294

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Nephrolepis brownii (Desv.) Hovenkamp & Miyam


4. Nephrolepis brownii (Desv.) Hovenkamp & Miyam  ., comb. nov. - Fig. 1f; Map 2; Plate 1a

Nephrodium brownii Desv. (1827) 252  . - Type: R. Brown 20 ( BM, K), Australia. 

Nephrodium regulare Desv. (1827) 252  . - Type: Anon. s.n. ( P), Timor. 

Aspidium floccigerum Blume (1828) 147  . - Nephrolepis floccigera (Blume) T. Moore (1857) 92  ; Baker (1867) 302; Backer & Posth. (1939) 93. - Type: Anon. s.n. ( L? not found), Moluccas. 

Aspidium schkuhrii Blume (1828) 147  . - Type: Kuhl & Van Hasselt s.n. ( L), Java. 

Nephrolepis acutangula C. Presl (1836) 79  . - Type: Meyen s.n. ( PRC), China. 

Davallia multiflora Roxb. (1844) 515, pl. 31  . - Nephrolepis multiflora (Roxb.) C.V. Morton (1958) 309  ; Proctor (1989) 265; Nauman (1992) 287. - Type: Roxburgh s.n. ( BR), India. 

Nephrolepis tomentosa Alderw. (1911) 11  . - Type: Koorders 24101b ( BO, L), Java. 

Nephrolepis pubescens Copel. (1952) 12  ; (1958) 187. - Type: BS 11539 ( MICH), Philippines. 

Nephrolepis hirsutula  auct. non (G. Forst) C. Presl: Mickel & A.R. Sm. (2004) 407.

Habit, rhizome morphology. Plants forming tufts of 5 or 6 fronds. Runners often forming stilts supporting the upright rhizome, 1.5-2.5 mm thick, branching angle divaricate. Scales on runners sparse, appressed or spreading. Tubers absent. Fronds 70-130 by 10-12 cm, stipe 14-37 cm long. Lamina base more or less strongly reduced, tapering over 25-35 cm, basal pinnae 1.5-2 cm long, 2-5 cm distant, middle pinnae straight or slightly falcate. Sterile pinnae 6 by 1.4 cm, base slightly to strongly unequal, basiscopic base rounded or cordate, acroscopic base truncate, strongly auricled (usually with a narrow auricle), margin in basal part entire or crenate, apex acute. Fertile pinnae 5.5-7 by 0.9 cm, with more distinctly serrate margin than the sterile pinnae. Indument. Basal scales peltate, appressed, 3.5 by 1.3 mm, central part dark brown or blackish, shining, hyaline margin wide, distinct, marginal glands absent, margin in basal part ciliate, acumen ciliate. Rachis scales dense, spreading, hyaline or light brown, with a well-developed protracted entire or ciliate acumen (ciliate in the lower part). Scales on lamina usually persistent, often also persistent on upper surface. Hairs on lamina absent, on costa constantly present. Sori marginal or submarginal (rarely), 25-27 pairs on fully fertile pinnae, round. Indusium reniform, with narrow sinus, attached at sinus.

Distribution - Widespread in Tropical Asia. India, Sri Lanka, China (south only: Guangdong, Hainan, Hong Kong), Japan: Ryukyu Isl., Bonin Isl.; Taiwan, Indochina, Malesia: Java, Borneo, Celebes, Philippines, Lesser Sunda Islands, Moluccas?, New Guinea; New Caledonia, Australia: Queensland; New Zealand: Kermadec Isl.; Fiji: Ovalau; Pitcairn; Rapa; Society Isl.; Cook Isl.: Rarotonga; Tonga. Introduced in Tropical America and the Hawaiian Islands.

Judging by the distribution of early collections, almost certainly native in Malesia, but dubiously elsewhere. It is introduced in America, where it is spreading as a weed and classified as an invasive species in Florida ( Plantlist /03list.htm). While Brown & Brown (1931) suggest it is also introduced in Southeast Polynesia, the earliest collections in that area suggest that this must then have been done by the Polynesian settlers. Early collections in Polynesia were made by Banks on Maietea in 1769 ( BM); by Banks & Solander ( BM) on Otaheite and by David Nelson in 1787 or earlier on Otaheite and in the Friendly Islands.

In contrast, it appears to be completely absent from Africa, and is uncommon in most parts of the Indian subcontinent.

Habitat & Ecology - Common at low to middle elevations (sea level to 1700 m), usually terrestrial, also epiphytic, both in forests and open vegetation (roadsides, riverbanks, open thickets), often weedy.

Notes - This species has often been confused with N. hirsutula  . It was distinguished from this by Jarrett in Morton (1974) as N. multiflora  , on the basis of the presence of hairs on the upper side of the pinna-midribs. Other characters to distinguish these two species are discussed under N. hirsutula. 

Similar scales and costal indument is found in N. acuminata  , which is, however, easily distinguished by the rachis indument including at least some scales with a dark acicular apex.

On Hawaii aberrant forms with spreading basal scales occur, some apparently with good spores ( Fosberg 38625, K),  some apparently sterile ( Fosberg 55434, L).