Pteris cretica 

(tear' iss cre-ti-cah)

Common name: Cretan Brake/Table Fern

Family: Polypodiaceae, Polypody

Height x width: 12-24" x 12-24"

Growth rate: moderate

Fronds: arching, ovate, pinnate, pale green 12-24" long, 1-5 pairs of pinnae narrowly lance-shape, simple or forked at tips; fertile fronds are taller with narrower pinnae

Sori: in lines at frond margin undersides, which curl under to protect them

Light: bright to moderate

Temperature: cool in winter, variegated forms average

Watering: well-watered

Fertility: moderate

Humidity: humid

Soil: well-drained, neutral to slightly alkaline

Pests and Problems: leaf spots, rusts, scale insects, mealybugs, aphids, leaf nematodes; leaves turn brown, first on margins, and curl if too dry or too little water

Growth habit, uses: cool indoors, terraria, upright habit not leant for hanging

Other interest: native to tropics of the Old World; from the Greek pteron for fern; thick, short creeping rhizomes; popular

Other culture: may be vigorous under good conditions and need repotting yearly or more often

Propagation: careful division, easy and quick from spores including cultivars

Related species: This genus of Brake Ferns has about 280 species, the most commonly found indoors being above, with the below occasionally seen in commerce.

argyraea (are-gyr' ee-ah)--Silver Brake, Silver Lace Fern, 2-pinnate fronds, each with 6 pairs of oblong dark green pinnae with broad, silvery central stripes

ensiflormis (en-si-four' miss)--Sword Brake, narrow, triangular, 2-pinnate dark green fronds, often with grayish white midribs; fertile fronds 12-18" long, 4 to 5 pairs of linear pinnae each with a few toothed basal segments; sterile fronds are shorter, with narrower untoothed pinnae;

'Arguta'--dark green, silver-white central midribs

'Evergemensis'--silvery sheen to dark fronds

'Victoriae'--Silver Leaf Fern, white bands parallel to either side of midribs

multifida (mul-ti-fi' dah)--Spider Brake, fronds 2-pinnate at the base, 3-5 pairs of pinnae with long tapering tips 'Corymbifera'--crested pinnae tips

'Variegata'--ribbon-like pinnae highly crested at tips, central white band

tremula (tre' muu-lah)--Australian Brake, 3-4 pinnate with overlapping pinnae appearing feathery, linear pinnae finely toothed, aggressive

tricolor (tri' co-lor)--Painted Brake, fertile fronds with 2-5 pairs of oblong pinnae, reddish when young

umbrosa (um-bro' sah)--Jungle Brake, 2 pinnate with 3-7 pairs of narrow, lance-shaped lobes, similar to cretica

vittata (vit-tah' tah)--Ladder Brake, long fronds to 3' with up to 40 pairs of linear and simple dark green pinnae

Cultivars: (of cretica)

'Albo-lineata'--Variegated Table Fern, broad white central band, easy to grow

'Alexandreae'--white variegation, incised and curled tips

'Childsii'--broad pinnae, incised margins, small crested tips

'Distinction'-- deeply lobed pinnae, branched tips, smaller than the species

'Gautheri'--Cretan Brake, broad pinnae

'Major'--Oriental Brake, broad, pinnae deeply incised and united at the base

'Mayi'--like 'Albo-lineata' only with crested tips

'Maxii'--similar to 'Albo-lineata' only more dwarf with narrower pinnae

'Ouvardii'--narrow linear pinnae

'Parkeri'--Parker's Table Fern, broad, rough fronds, not curled

'Rivertoniana'--Lacy Table Fern, deep, irregular lobed pinnae in 4-5 pairs

'Roweii'--Crested Brake, a frilled 'Parkeri'

'Wimsettii'--Skeleton Table Fern, deep and irregularly lobed pinnae, tips often crested, compact

'Wilsonii'--Fan Table Fern, variously lobed or crested, terminally crested appearing fan-like

©Authored by Dr. Leonard Perry, Professor, University of Vermont as part of PSS121, Indoor Plants.

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