Vittaria ensiformis Sw.

Etymology Genus Ribbon-like, referring to the fronds
Species Sword-shaped, likely to also refer to the fronds
Family Vittariaceae
Synonyms -
Common Names Shoestring Fern
Status Native: Common
Form Epiphyte
Native Distribution Paleotropics


The epiphytic fern is recognisable from its narrow fronds (about 0.5cm wide and reaching up to 30cm) which occur in clusters. The fronds often have copper-coloured tips.

Interesting Facts:

The Shoestring Fern can be commonly seen on urban trees, under moderate shade. They usually thrive under the Bird Nest Fern (Asplenium nidus) where excess rain collected will be drained down to them (Wee & Corlett, 1986). The fertile fronds bear a thin line of sori that flank the margins. The tips may split to be forked or having multiple ends, but this seems to be an uncommon occurence.

It is easy to identify by the slender, elongated form and copperish tips.

Close-up of the form.

Uncommon split ends.

The sori lined the margins in fertile fronds.


Wee YC & R Corlett. (1986) The City and the Forest: Plant Life in Urban Singapore. Singapore University Press, Singapore. 186 pp.

Author: Jake
Posted: 2012-12-22 / Modified: 2017-12-25