Pityrogramma calomelanos (L.) Link, Handbuch 3: 20 20 1833. (syn: Acrostichum album Vell.; Acrostichum calomelanos L.; Acrostichum calomelanos f. sulfurea Duss; Ceratopteris calomelanos (L.) Underw.; Ceropteris calomelanos (L.) Link; Ceropteris martensii Link; Ceropteris massonii Link; Ceropteris serrata Fée; Gymnogramma bidentata C.Presl; Gymnogramma calomelanos (L.) Kaulf.; Gymnogramma calomelanos var. denudata Harr.; Gymnogramma calomelanos f. epruinata Kuhn; Gymnogramma calomelanos f. flavofarinosa Kuhn; Gymnogramma calomelanos var. martensii (Bory) Jenman; Gymnogramma hybrida Martens; Gymnogramma martensii (Link) Bory; Gymnogramma massonii (Link) Loud. ex Kunze; Gymnogramma serrata Moore; Neurogramma calomelanos (L.) Diels; Pityrogramma albicans Domin; Pityrogramma chamaesorbus Domin; Pityrogramma consimilis Domin; Pityrogramma hybrida (Martens) Domin; Pityrogramma insularis Domin; Pityrogramma intermedia Domin; Pityrogramma mira Domin; Pityrogramma tenerrima Domin);
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Siver fern – [Cheilanthes argentea (Gmel.) Kunze] from Guwahati.:
Attached images are Silver fern [ Cheilanthes argentea (Gmel.) Kunze] collected from Chokordow Hill (Guwahati-17).
Date :28/10/2012
Location: Chokordow, Guwahati-17 [Dist- Kamrup(Metro)]
Habitat: Grows on hill slopes
Sori : Silver coloured
Rhizome : present
Scales on the rhizome : Not examined

The plant is Pityrogramma calomelanos (this photo is not of Cheilanthes argentea – may be there is mixup ). 

Unfortunately this is rather a lot of muddling up! First Cheilanthes (or now commonly Aleuritopteris) argentea is NOT the Indian “silver fern” – so far it has only turned up as a great rarity, discovered recently by that Fraser-Jenkins fellow at high-altitude in N. Nepal and N. Bhutan – it is otherwise a Chinese and E. Siberian species.
It is not “The” silver fern – there are some 12 different silver ferns and two gold ferns in India, of which A. farinosa is also not one (confined to Africa and S. Arabia). Common species are A. bicolor, A. formosana, A. anceps, A. albomarginata etc. – one must see the distribution of scales to identify them.
Finally this is not a Cheilanthes at all, but is the common Pityrogramma calomelanos, not widespread in India, but actually a rather recent mostly early 20th Century adventive species from South America. It has a quite different frond-shape from the Aleuritopteris species.
Many problems like this could be solved by referring to Prof. Khullar’s most important contribution, the Illustrated Fern Flora of the West Himalaya, and further details are in many other books and papers, includiing some of mine.

This species is very common in South Kerala



Fwd: Fern :  7 posts by 3 authors. Attachments (1 + 1).
Please help me to identify this sp. of fern. Found in the hilly area of Darjeeling dist.

Pl. send the close ups showing leaves etc.

Here it is…

Looking like Cheilanthes sp 

To me it is Pityrogramma calomelanos

Could that be Pityrogramma calomelanos?  It is an introduced species in many areas. It has a white waxy covering on the lower leaf surface. Some close-up photos of the lower surface would be helpful.

This is Pityrogramma calomelanos – and abundant and widespread, yet adventive S. American species. It is now even in the remote inner Himalaya and appears to be just like a native fern – yet in the mid 19th Century it was hardly known expect in Sri Lanka. Common now throughout much of Asia.

Fern for ID :: Thane :: ARKDEC20 : 4 posts by 2 authors. Attachments (5)
This fern was found in a cultivated garden in Thane in December 2016. Name provided was Cyathea dealbata.
Requested to please validate.

It’s a very common and remarkably widespread adventive pteridaceous fern, Pityrogramma calomelanos, originally S. and C. American, but now spread allover the world.  In India there are very few records in the 19th Century, but masses now.  It seems to have come in via S. and peninsular India and Lanka – quite possibly by cultivation as an attractive ornamental fern, but now it is all over everywhere – even in the most remote inner-Himalayan valleys and up to highish altitude.  It seems to be one of those whose spores are spread on clothing as people brush past it as it grows besides paths etc.
There is a more attractive species too in South India, also a S. American adventive, as the name suggests, P. austroamericana, with golden-yellow farina beneath and a slightly smaller, less dissect frond – but not (yet!) spread to northern India, for reasons I don’t know.  And Sri Lanka also has two further adventive American species of the genus. Each species has different flavinoid compounds constituting the white or yellow farina (Prof. Eckhard Wollenweber’s findings at Darmstadt University).
As one can guess, it is no tree-fern!  I imagine somebody who knew less than a little about ferns observed the white farina beneath the frond, saw the name Cyathea dealbata and put 2 and 2 together to make 5!  The same trouble happens widely with our dozen or more white (or yellow)-powdered Aleuritopteris species, all of which pop up under the name “Aleuritopteris (Cheilanthes) albomarginata” in herbaria and publications – accounting for Plains and peninsular records, such as lower West Bengal foothills “A. albomarginata“, whereas true A. albomarginata is rather a higher Himalayan-range species!


SK1568 14 Nov 2018 : 7 posts by 3 authors. Attachments (6)- around 800 kb each.
Location:  Bandipur, Nepal 
Date: 06 October 2018
Elevation: 3500 ft.
Habit : Wild

Pityrogramma calomelanos or austroamericana,

An incentive and widespread sp

Pityrogramma calomelanos


Requesting a fern ID: 2 high res. images.

Habit: herb
Date: 1/10/2021
Place: Thiruvananthapuram, adjoining Agasthyamalai biosphere reserve.
Habitat: seen around the damp rock crevices.
Striking characters: Silvery powdery mass in the abaxial surface of the frond.

Do you have an image of the back side?

Sure, here it is.
1 image.

Er, I think you mean underside!!  Back side is usually used to refer to the human lower posterior – don’t mind me saying!
But actually this is such an abundant, widespread and well known species, no further image is needed.  It is Pityrogramma calomelanos, which is an adventive S. and C. American  species that spread around the world since the late 19th Century.  It first appeared in Sri Lanka before spreading to India.  Then spread to even the most remote corners of India like Ladakh, even!
It spreads along paths and it may well be that the spores are carried along on the clothes of passers-bye, as a weedy invasive species.
The other adventive Pityrogramma in South India (not yet in the north) is Pityrogramma austroamericana, which has slightly shorter fronds and subtly different pinna-segments – and bright yellow farina beneath, not white.
In the 1950s they used to be cultivated in many heated greenhouses in Europe etc. as Silver and Gold ferns, that come up spontaneously from spores on old brickwork. Nowadays few can afford to heat greenhouses, anyway.


Is this Pityrogramma calomelanos ?: 6 images.
Date/Time-Jan 15 2022
Location- Place, Altitude: Nipani. North Karnataka. 500mts ASL
Habitat- Wild – in sugarcane field.
Plant Habit-  Herb
Height- 15cm
Leaves – have white powdery covering on under-surface.

Yes, it is!



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