Common Name: Shield ferns
Description: Terrestrial ferns, the rhizome erect or shortly creeping, thick, densely covered with broad scales.
Fronds clustered, proliferous buds sometimes present on main rachis; stipe scaly at the base; rachis covered with broad-based scales; lamina 2–3-pinnate; pinnae unequal-sided, veins free.
Sori circular, the indusium peltate.
Distribution and occurrence: World: c. 160 species, almost cosmopolitan. Australia: 4 species, Qld, N.S.W., Vic., Tas.
Text by Peter G. Wilson
Taxa not yet included in identification key
| ||Key to the species|| |
|1||Proliferous buds never present on the main rachis; small woolly, pale brown, much-divided scales present on the stipes and rachises||2|
|Proliferous buds often present on the main rachis; small woolly scales not present, although the bases of the lanceolate scales on the rachis are divided and somewhat feathery||3|
|2||Scales of the rhizome and stipe base clearly of two types, narrow and red-brown at the very base, and broader (sometimes also darker) further up||Polystichum fallax|
|Scales of the rhizome and stipe base predominantly of one type, all red-brown and ovate to lanceolate|
Back to 1
|3||Scales at base of stipe glossy, mostly with a pale border, and often twisted||Polystichum proliferum|
|Scales at base of stipe dull, lacking a pale border|
Back to 1