Arsenic hyperaccumulation by different fern species


Author for correspondence: S. P. McGrath Tel: +44 (0)1582 763133 Fax: +44 (0)1582 760981 Email:


  • • Pteris vittata was the first identified arsenic (As) hyperaccumulator. Our aim was to test whether As hyperaccumulation occurs in other fern species, and whether P. vittata collected from both contaminated and uncontaminated environments accumulates As similarly.
  • • Three accessions of P. vittata , two cultivars of Pteris cretica , Pteris longifolia and Pteris umbrosa were grown with 0–500 mg As kg −1 added to the substrate. A second experiment compared As uptake by five common ferns obtained from commercial suppliers.
  • • The results show that, in addition to P. vittata , P. cretica , P. longifolia and P. umbrosa also hyperaccumulate As to a similar extent. There was little difference between different Pteris species, or between different accessions of P. vittata . By contrast, Asplenium nidus , Davallia canarensis , Polypodium aureum , Polystichum tsus-simense do not hyperaccumulate As.
  • • This study identified three new species of As hyperaccumulators in the Pteris genus and suggests that As hyperaccumulation is a constitutive property in P. vittata .