Scientific name

Bolbitis Schott

Common names




Could be confused with


Native distribution

Africa, Asia

Species commonly cultivated

Bolbitis heteroclita (C. Presl) Ching (Japan to Papua New Guinea)

B. heudelotii (Bory ex Fée) Alston (Africa)

Adventive distribution


Weed status

not weedy


amphibious, creeping, commonly growing on rocks and logs

Brief description

Perennial fern. Creeping, irregularly branching rhizome, covered in dense mat of brown scales; roots numerous. Leaves alternate at regular intervals along rhizome, erect, petiolate; leaf blade shape variable depending on emersed or submersed form and light levels, 1-pinnate to pinnatifid; margin commonly serrate. Emersed, fertile leaflets linear, with numerous sporangia on abaxial surface. Dispersal by spores or stem fragments. Adventitious daughter plantlets develop on leaf tips under conditions of high humidity.

Natural habitat

seasonally submerged, in either shade or full sun

Additional comments

Bolbitis is a large genus containing 85 species, but only four are considered aquatic or amphibious. Two species are cultivated for aquaria or terrariums.