We were astonished to find this Thelypteridaceae growing up in a tree fern. Upon closer examination, we saw that it exhibited a number of traits indicating that it is likely a primary hemiepiphyte. It had a long-creeping rhizome and dimorphic roots with both short ‘clasping’ roots that adhere to the host tree, and elongate ‘feeder’ roots that grow down to the soil. With help from Susan Fawcett, we have applied the name Sphaerostephanos scandens, which is the only climbing or epiphytic species we know of in the entire family of ca. 1000 spp.
Collection Data (M. Sundue & H. Maraia 4420)
Classification & Common Names
- Class: Polypodiopsida
- Family: Thelypteridaceae
- Genus: Sphaerostephanos J. Sm.
- Species: Sphaerostephanos scandens Holttum
- Common name(s):
General Collection Data
- Date: 08-XI-2016
- Primary Collector & #: M. Sundue & H. Maraia 4420
- Collection Party: Irene Engilis, Alan Hitch, Ed de Vogel, John Trochet, Nittya Semard, Allen Allison, Raymon Joshua, Kore Maraia, Dabio, Alois Gambia
- Det. History: S. Fawcett
- Habitat: Castanopsis forest
- Habit: Primary hemiepiphyte
- Specimen Locations: LAE
- Location: Wild Dog Camp - former site of SINIVIT Wild Dog Mine – – – East New Britain – Papua New Guinea.
- Coordinates: S4.62616° E152.04406°
- Elevation: 1335 m