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Asia-Tropical, SE Asia present, tropical America present
Malesia and SE Asia (c. 6 species); widely in tropical America (1 species).


This small genus is not nearly allied to any other in the Tectaria group. The plants grow on rocks, where their roots would be more quickly affected by periods of dry weather than those of plants rooted in the soil; the small simple and articulate nature of their pinnae are well adapted to this habitat. But the reduction of lower pinnae and lack of any distinctive character in them are peculiar in this group of genera. The nature of the marginal teeth (where such exist) on scales of the caudex and stipes is also (so far as my observation goes) peculiar. The nature and distribution of hairs on the rachis resemble those in Pteridrys.

The distribution of Cyclopeltis is peculiar, also the fact that although quite widely distributed in the American tropics it is there very uniform, whereas in Malesia there are certainly several species, though they were not clearly distinguished by the earlier authors, the result being a complex synonymy.

The West Indian species was the first known and is therefore the type; it was included in Polystichum by earlier authors on account of its peltate indusia. In 1846 John Smith had a plant in cultivation at Kew and for the first time recognized the distinctness of the genus, but he did not clearly distinguish between the West Indian species and Philippine ones of which he had specimens collected by Cuming.


Base chromosome number 41 (C. semicordata only). The only recorded cytological observation is of the West Indian species, which is diploid.


Copel. 1947: Gen. Fil.: 112
Holttum 1986 – In: Gard. Bull. Sing.: 160
Tryon & Tryon 1982: Ferns & Allied Pl. with spec. ref. to Trop. America: 484: f. 71: 1, 3, 4
J. Sm. 1975: Hist. Fil.: 225