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Epiphytic, epilithic or terrestrial, in small tufts or extensive clones.


Africa to Pacific Islands present, Asia-Tropical: Sumatera (Sumatera present), Paleotropic present, Pitcairn present
Paleotropic, Africa to Pacific Islands (Pitcairn). Throughout Malesia. Most diverse in Sumatra.




Pyrrosia is here treated as including Drymoglossum, which has been kept separate by, e.g., Copeland (1947) and Holttum (1954). The Malesian species of Pyrrosia can be assigned to seven distinct groups (Hovenkamp 1986); the P. costata-group (P. stigmosa, P. princeps, P. splendens); the P. porosa-group (in Malesia only P. porosa); the P. lingua-group (P. abbreviata, P. christii, P. sphaerosticha); the P. albicans-group (P. kinabaluensis, P. nummularifolia, P. rasamalae, P. albicans, P. asterosora, P. distichocarpa); the P. angustata-group (P. angustata, P. samarensis, P. novo-guineae), the P. lanceolata-group (P. lanceolata, P. longifolia, P. foveolata, P. fallax), and the P. piloselloides group (P. piloselloides). Pyrrosia penangiana is an isolated species, without closely related species. This classification is based on shape and structure of the rhizome scales, structure of the indument, shape and structure of the lamina, shape and structure of the sori, and spore sculpture. Other classifications, based mainly on a single character complex (e.g., the traditional recognition of Drymoglossum based on frond dimorphy, or the elaborate classification by Shing based on details of indument) are not satisfactory.

Pyrrosia is a distinct genus. The ‘drymoglossoid’ species (those with highly dimorphic fronds and coenosori) have been separated as Drymoglossum, otherwise it has been used in the current circumscription by most 20th century authors. Uniting characters are primarily the peculiar stellate hairs, but the sclerenchyma sheath in the rhizome and absence of pinnate divisions of the fronds also contribute to the distinctness of the genus. Its closest relative is Platycerium, which shares these characters.


Farwell 1931 – In: Amer. Midl. Nat.: 245
Kaulf. 1829: Fl. Javae Fil.: 48
Hovenkamp 1986 – In: Leiden Bot. Ser.
Alderw. 1908: Malayan Ferns: 678
C. Presl 1929 – In: Dansk Bot. Ark.: 83
Ravensberg & Hennipman 1986 – In: Leiden Bot. Ser.: 281
Mirb. 1803 – In: Hist. Nat. Vég.: 91
Hennipman et al. 1990 – In: Kramer & Green, Fam. & Genera Vasc. Pl. 1: 211
C. Chr. 1906: Index Filic.: xlvi, 246
Giesenh. 1901: Niphobolus
Holttum 1955 – In: Revis. Fl. Malaya: 141
Desv. 1960: Fern Fl. Philipp.: 475
Maxon 1903 – In: Contr. U.S. Nat. Herb.: 486
Blume 1828: Enum. Pl. Javae: 102
Backer & Posth. 1939: Varenfl. Java: 237
Copel. 1947: Gen. Fil.: 194
Copel. 1947: Gen. Fil.: 192
C. Chr. 1906: Index Filic.: 197
Ching 1935 – In: Bull. Chin. Bot. Soc.: 36
Holttum 1955 – In: Revis. Fl. Malaya: 149
Copel. 1960: Fern Fl. Philipp.: 469