Lindsaea linearis Sw.

Screw Fern

J. Bot. (Schrader) 1800 (2): 78 (1801) APNI

Taxonomic status:Accepted

Occurrence status:Present

Establishment means:Native

Rhizome creeping, often deeply buried, covered with coarse, pale brown, narrow scales having long hair-points. Fronds close together or distant, unbranched (very rarely bifid), 10–40 cm long, dimorphic with fertile fronds erect and longer than the more spreading sterile fronds. Stipe length variable, 5–25 cm long in sterile fronds, slender, brittle, red-brown to almost black, shiny. Lamina linear, once pinnate, glabrous. Pinnules shortly stalked, asymmetrically wedge-shaped to fan-shaped, up to 1 cm wide, usually wider than long; outer margin wavy, crenulate, toothed or lobed; veins radiating out from base; pinnules in fertile fronds obliquely deflexed. Sori extending along outer margin, protected by membranous indusium with frilled margin.

CVU, DunT, EGL, EGU, GipP, Glep, GGr, HFE, HNF, HSF, MonT, OtP, OtR, SnM, Strz, VRiv, VVP, WaP, WPro, Wim. All States, Norfolk Is. New Zealand, New Caledonia. Relatively common in open-forest, scrubs and heathland south of the Great Dividing Range, particularly on poorly drained soils of low nutrient status.

Fertile fronds stand erect and with their twisted, deflexed pinnae resemble a wood-screw in silhouette. Sterile fronds can be almost prostrate and hidden among herbage. When sterile, L. linearis is superficially similar to Asplenium flabellifolium (Aspleniaceae), but the fronds are shorter and less tapering.

Source: Entwisle, T.J. (1994). Ferns and allied plants (Psilophyta, Lycopodiophyta, Polypodiophyta). In: Walsh, N.G.; Entwisle, T.J. (eds), Flora of Victoria Vol. 2, Ferns and Allied Plants, Conifers and Monocotyledons. Inkata Press, Melbourne.
Hero image
Distribution map
life Life
kingdom Plantae
phylum Tracheophyta
order Polypodiales
family Lindsaeaceae
genus Lindsaea
Higher taxa


Source: AVH (2014). Australia's Virtual Herbarium, Council of Heads of Australasian Herbaria, <>. Find Lindsaea linearis in AVH ; Victorian Biodiversity Atlas, © The State of Victoria, Department of Environment and Primary Industries (published Dec. 2014) Find Lindsaea linearis in Victorian Biodiversity Atlas
  Bioregion Occurrence status Establishment means
Wimmera present native
Glenelg Plain present native
Victorian Volcanic Plain present native
Victorian Riverina present native
Gippsland Plain present native
Otway Plain present native
Warrnambool Plain present native
Central Victorian Uplands present native
Greater Grampians present native
Dundas Tablelands present native
East Gippsland Lowlands present native
East Gippsland Uplands present native
Wilsons Promontory present native
Highlands-Southern Fall present native
Highlands-Northern Fall present native
Otway Ranges present native
Strzelecki Ranges present native
Monaro Tablelands present native
Highlands-Far East present native
Snowy Mountains present native

State distribution

Distribution map
Western Australia
South Australia
New South Wales
Australian Capital Territory