Phymatosorus scolopendria
Common Name: wart fern 
Type: Fern
Family: Polypodiaceae
Native Range: Tropical Africa, Tropical Asia, Tropical Australia, Polynesia, East Indies
Zone: 10 to 11
Height: 1.00 to 2.00 feet
Spread: 1.00 to 2.00 feet
Bloom Time: Non-flowering
Bloom Description: Non-flowering
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Medium
Suggested Use: Ground Cover, Naturalize
Other: Winter Interest


Winter hardy to USDA Zones 10-11 where it is easily grown in evenly moist, well-drained soils in full sun to part shade. Propagate by rhizome division.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Phymatosorus scolopendria, commonly called wart fern, is native to Africa, Australia, South East Asia and Polynesia. It is a strongly rhizomatous fern with pinnately lobed leaves. It will spread indefinitely. Deeply sunken sori on the frond undersides result in wart-like bumps on the uppersides, hence the common name. This fern crawls along the ground to form an excellent ground cover, but also will climb up walls, tree trunks and cover rocky areas. Fronds droop gracefully from hanging baskets. Wart fern will escape cultivation and naturalize. Although not native to Hawaii, it is probably the most commonly cultivated fern in Hawaii at this time. Synonymous with Microsorum scolopendria.

Specific epithet means millipede in reference to the rows of sori.


No serious insect or disease problem.


Where winter hardy, wart fern forms an excellent ground cover. It is also commonly used as a bedding plant. Cut fronds are popular additions to flower arrangements. Containers. Hanging baskets. Houseplant.