Phlegmariurus phlegmaria (L.) T.Sen & U.Sen is part of a large complex of species spanning from Africa to the Austral Islands SE of Tahiti. There are at least three species belonging to this group that occur in Australia, the most common of which I tentatively call P. phlegmaria. This species was the first palaeotropical tassel-fern to be described by Linnaeus and was based on illustrations in Dillenius which were in turn based on illustrations in Rheedius, Rumphius and Breynius going back to the 1600’s. Members of the P. phlegmaria complex can be recognised by being minutely petiolate, a feature absent from similar groups such as the P. phlegmarioides group. This Australian population occurs throughout the lowland rainforests from Torres Strait to the Whitsundays and it can be quite common in riparian rainforest and in mangroves. It is more generalist than the other species, growing on a lot of different host species and in a lot of different vegetation communities even into sclerophyll forest.
About The Author
I am a Lycophyte phylogeneticist and taxonomist working on Australasian Phlegmariurus. I live in tropical Australia.
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