Natives For Your Neighborhood is a labor of love and commitment. If you use this website, help us maintain and grow it with your tax-deductible donation.


Please scroll to the bottom for more images.
Bahama ladder brake
Pteris bahamensis

Copyright by: Shirley Denton

General 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.

Availability: Grown by enthusiasts.

Description: Medium herbaceous fern.

Dimensions: About 1-2 feet in height. Usually taller than broad.

Growth Rate: Moderate.

Range: 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.

Plant Map Map of select IRC data from peninsular Florida.

 Map of suggested ZIP codes from South Florida north to southern Brevard, Osceola, Polk, and Pasco counties.

 Map of ZIP codes with habitat recommendations from the Monroe County Keys north to Martin and Charlotte counties.

Habitats: Pine rocklands.

Soils: 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: N/A.

Flower Characteristics: There are no flowers; the plants reproduce by spores.

Flowering Season: All year.

Fruit: Inconspicuous spores.

Horticultural Notes: Can be grown from spores.

References: A Gardener's Guide to Florida's Native Plants

Comments: 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.

Copyright by: Shirley Denton

Copyright by: Lindsay M. Boehner
cultivated plant in South Florida

Copyright by: Lindsay M. Boehner
cultivated plant in South Florida

Other data on Pteris bahamensis available from:

Resources Links:
Find Native Plants!

Acknowledgements and past sponsors

Become a sponsor!

Major Sponsor:

Emergent Sponsors:

Canopy Sponsors:
Herbaceous Sponsors:

Jay Bird - @BotanizingBirdingButterflies

Florida Native Plant Nursery