Bahama ladder brake
Pteris bahamensis

Landscape Uses:

Primarily recommended for natural landscapes and habitat restorations. Also rock gardens.

Ecological Restoration Notes:

It can be used as one of many understory herbs in pine rocklands.
Grown by enthusiasts.
Medium herbaceous fern.
About 1-2 feet in height. Usually taller than broad.
Growth Rate:
Monroe County Keys north to St. Lucie and Collier counties; Bahamas. In the Monroe County Keys, apparently disjunct from Miami-Dade County to the pine rocklands of Big Pine Key and nearby islands. Very rare north of the Miami River; perhaps extirpated in Broward and Palm Beach counties, and either never present or extirpated in Martin County.
Pine rocklands.
Moist, well-drained limestone soils, without humus.
Nutritional Requirements:
Low; it grows in nutrient poor soils.
Salt Water Tolerance:
Low; does not tolerate long-term flooding by salt or brackish water.
Salt Wind Tolerance:
Low; salt wind may burn the leaves.
Drought Tolerance:
High; does not require any supplemental water once established.
Light Requirements:
Full sun to light shade.
Flower Color:
Flower Characteristics:
There are no flowers; the plants reproduce by spores.
Flowering Season:
All year.
Inconspicuous spores.
Wildlife and Ecology:
Horticultural Notes:
Can be grown from spores.
Bahama ladder brake hybridizes with the exotic China brake (P. vittata) forming Delchamps' ladder brake (P. x delchampsii) and is threatened with extinction through hybridization. It is listed as threatened by the state of Florida.

Shirley Denton
Lindsay M. Boehner
cultivated plant in South Florida
Lindsay M. Boehner
cultivated plant in South Florida