A Quick Guide to Farinose Ferns

Carl Rothfels

The farina covering the underside of some species of Pteridaceae (Pityrogramma calomelanos in this case) can be used, with a vigorous slap, to add attractive (temporary) designs to t-shirts. We thank our model, Joao Paulo Condack, for his partially informed participation. © 2008

This page provides a short overview of farinose ferns. The majority of these ferns are cheilanthoids. The genera listed below are those that have species with the underside of their leaves densely covered with a layer of farina, a wax-like flavonoid deposit. Other taxa, including members of Pellaea, Cryptogramma, etc., may also produce farina, but in restricted locations, such as nestled among the sporangia. In brackets following the genus names is a short description of their phylogenetic affinities. 


Yatskievych, G., M. D. Windham, and E. Wollenweber. 1990. A reconsideration of the genus Pityrogramma (Adiantaceae) in western North America. American Fern Journal 80:9.

About This Page

Carl Rothfels
Duke University, Durham, North Carolina, USA

Correspondence regarding this page should be directed to Carl Rothfels at

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