Pityrogramma calomelanos (L.) Link

Etymology Genus From Greek pityro (bran) and gramme (line) referring to the colour and arrangement of the sori
Species From Greek calo (beautiful) and melanos (black, dark coloured); probably referring to the stipes of the species
Family Pteridaceae
Synonyms -
Common Names Silverback Fern, Dixie Silverback Fern
Status Exotic: Naturalised
Form Herb
Native Distribution Mexico, Central and South America


Pityrogramma calomelanos is a terrestrial fern found in open areas and forest edges. It can be easily identified by the silver-white powder on the underside of the fronds.

Interesting Facts:

While originating from America, it has spread throughout the tropics. The white powdery resin is mainly made out of flavonoids, and are exuded by granular hairs covering the underside of the frond (Darnaedi & Praptosuwiryo, 2016).

Form of the Silverback Fern.

Fiddlehead covered with silver powder.


Frond close-up

Frond underside, showing the spores and silver powder.

Imprint of the powder on the hand.


Darnaedi D & Praptosuwiryo TN (2016) Pityrogramma calomelanos (PROSEA). Plant Resources of South East Asia. https://uses.plantnet-project.org/en/Category:PROSEA. Accessed on 30-Dec-2018.

Author: Jake
Posted: 2019-01-06