Distribution and ecology

Lecanopteris is almost exclusively a Malesian genus, with only 1 species extending into other parts of south-east Asia and just reaching Queensland and Vanuatu.

Map of Sulawesi

Topographic location map of Sulawesi showing Mount Rantemario. © Sadalmelik, Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported

Sulawesi in Indonesia is the centre of distribution - of the 13 known species, 8 occur in Sulawesi. 6 of these are endemic, of which 5 have a very restricted distribution and are only known from a few collections. More extensive exploration could reveal other populations.

Lecanopteris spinosa has only been found on Mount Rantemario in the Latimojong Mountains of south Sulawesi at roughly 1,950m altitude.


Lecanopteris species:

  • are epiphytes and derive nutrients from accumulated organic matter and rainfall; they are not parasitic
  • seem to have no preference for particular host tree species
  • often grow on trees with rough bark
  • are sun epiphytes, growing on exposed branches with high light levels
  • all develop rhizome domatia that shelter ants

Lecanopteris spinosa:

  • is a high epiphyte in undisturbed open mixed oak-podocarp forest (upper montane evergreen forest)
  • is found on upper branches - 3 to 6cm thick - of Platea latifolia trees 15 to 30m high
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The process by which water and nutrients are absorbed and conveyed to the plant tissues and organs.

Domatium (plural: domatia)

Part of a plant that has been modified to provide protection for insects, mites or fungi.


Plants that grow on another plant for support but are not parasitic.


Not obligatory - can complete its life cycle independently.


Fern leaf.


With a waxy blue-green sheen.


A structure that covers the sorus.


Descended from a single common ancestor.


A fern's midrib.


A fern's stem.


Group of sporangia.


Spore capsule.