28. Pteris vittata Linnaeus, Sp. Pl. 2: 1074. 1753.
蜈蚣草 wu gong cao
Pteris vittata f. cristata Ching.
Plants (20-)30-100(-150) cm tall. Rhizome erect, short and robust, 2-2.5 cm in diam., woody, apex densely clothed with yellow-brown scales. Fronds clustered; stipe firm, dark straw-colored or light brown, 10-30 cm or larger, 3-4 mm in diam., densely scaly when young, scales like those of rhizome, sparse; rachis straw-colored, sparsely scaly; lamina 1-pinnate, oblanceolate-oblong in outline, 20-90 × 5-25 cm or larger; lateral pinnae up to 40 pairs, alternate or sometimes subopposite; lower pinnae 3-4 cm apart, decumbent, sessile, not connate with rachises, progressively shorter toward base, basal pair auriculiform, middle pinnae longest, narrowly linear, 6-15 × 0.5-1 cm, base slightly expanded and cordate, both sides slightly auriculiform, upper ones larger and overlapping rachis; pinnae 1-1.5 cm apart, sterile margin minutely and evenly serrate, not cartilaginous, apex acuminate; midvein prominent abaxially and light straw-colored; veins slender, contiguous, oblique, simple or forked; terminal pinna similar to lateral pinnae in shape. Lamina pale green, opaque, thinly leathery, glabrous.
Calcareous soils, on limestone, also on stone and on walls; below ca. 2000 m. Anhui, Fujian, SE Gansu (Kangxian), Guangdong, Guangxi, Guizhou, SW Henan, Hubei, Hunan, Jiangxi, Shaanxi, Sichuan, Taiwan, Xizang, Yunnan, Zhejiang [widely distributed in tropics and subtropics of the Old World].
Plants of Pteris vittata are very different in shape and size, varying according to their habitats.