Coryphopteris

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Coryphopteris

Distribution

Asia-Tropical: Jawa (Jawa absent); Lesser Sunda Is. absent, Japan present, N.E. India present, New Caledonia present, Pacific: Fiji (Fiji present); Marquesas (Marquesas present); Samoa (Samoa present), Rapa present, S. China present, Solomon Islands present, Tahiti present
N.E. India to S. China and Japan; Malesia (except Java and Lesser Sunda Islands), Solomon Islands, New Caledonia, Fiji, Samoa, Tahiti, Rapa, Marquesas; in all about 47 species.

Ecology

Plants of this genus occur only in ± mossy forest on mountain ridges where the soil is leached and often peaty; Mrs A. G. Piggott reports a pH of 4.0 for soil on G. Ulu Kali in Malaya (). In this habitat there are usually no other thelypteroid ferns.

Cytology

In Holttum, Ferns of Malaya (1955) p. 624, Manton recorded n = 32 for Thelypteris pectiniformis () and 2n = c. 70 for T. viscosa; the latter record was probably made from a plant of the species later named. Coryphopteris arthrotricha Holttum. In June 1980 J. W. Grimes examined a plant of C. arthrotricha, from Cameron Highlands, Malaya, in cultivation at Kew, and found n = 66, indicating a tetraploid with base number 33. This number had not previously been recorded for any species in the family. There are no other records of observations on the chromosomes of this genus. It seems possible that the count of n = 32 for C. pectiniformis might have been an error for 33, as the photograph in fig. 8 shows some overlapping of chromosomes. Counts from other species are needed to confirm that n = 33 is characteristic of the genus.

Notes

The greatest number of species (20) occur in New Guinea, where there is the greatest and most varied development of suitable mountainous country.
Critical new field work is needed everywhere for a better understanding of this genus; more new species may remain to be discovered, and some here described need to be more clearly characterized. The presence and distribution of glands is always a significant character, as in other members of the family. The glands of. Coryphopteris are resinous and sometimes collapse when dried by artificial heat or when treated with alcohol before drying; in the collapsed state they are often difficult to see.
Among species lacking glands, the only one widely distributed is C. badia. This appears to be peculiar in growing always in moss-cushions, sometimes on branches of trees. The bases of stipes are covered with slender hairs like those on roots and probably have the same function.
Species 1-3 have hairs of a different type at the bases of stipes; these are rigid and spreading, consisting of many cells. Habitat conditions for these species have not been well recorded. One of them is C. unidentata which has larger fronds than any other in the genus and is only known from three mountains in the north of Malaya. C. arthrotricha, the common species on the Main Range of Malaya, has septate hairs on the upper surface of costae, not at the base of stipes; C. tahanensis, only known from Gunung Tahan in Malaya, is intermediate between C. multisora of Borneo and C. arthrotricha.
The almost invariable miniature arborescent habit of well-grown plants of all species of this genus, and the fact that they are confined to ridge-tops where other thelypteroid ferns will not grow, suggests that. Coryphopteris may be the relic of a primitive section of the family. The Cyathea-like septate hairs on upper surface of rachis and costae in C. unidentata, C. hirsutipes, C. multisora, C. tahanensis and C. arthrotricha may also be a relic of a primitive condition. The only species which show a partially bipinnate condition are C. habbemensis and C. stereophylla, both much smaller in stature than C. unidentata.

Citation

Holttum - in Allertonia. 1977: 195
Holttum - in Blumea. 1976