T.E.R:R.A.I.N - Taranaki Educational Resource: Research, Analysis and Information Network


Cretan brake (Pteris cretica)

Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Pteridophyta
Class: Pteridopsida
Order: Polypodiales
Family: Pteridaceae
Subfamily: Pteridoideae
Genus: Pteris
Species: P. cretica
Binomial name: Pteris cretica
Common name: Cretan brake, Ribbon fern, Wimsettii Cretan Brake, Polipoli.


Pteris cretica is a species of evergreen fern in the family Pteridaceae, native to Europe, Asia and Africa. It is listed in the Global Compendium of Weeds. In New Zealand it is a cultivated plant that has spread by spores and has now become established in open and shaded places on roadsides cuttings, forest clearings, along streams and is very common in wasteland areas within cities and towns. It is now found throughout the North and South Island.

Pteris cretica grows up to 75 cm tall by 60 cm broad and has fronds that are divided deeply into many long, ribbon-like sections. The arching pinnate fronds each bears up to five nearly flat pinnae whose margins are just lightly toothed. The fronds are not shiny, and the overall frond colour is a dark green to almost lemony green in newer fronds.
These ferns have sterile fronds 30-40 cm in length and fertile fronds that are up to 60 cm or more in length. Spores are born on the outermost margins of the fertile fronds. The spores of all Pteris are born on the outer margins of the pinnae and have no indusia covering them during their development.   





Close up of the frond

The underside of a fertile frond