Pteris cretica

Cretan brake

Family: Pteridaceae

Origin: Africa, Eurasia

Close up of the underside of a cretan brake leaf with spores along either side.
Spores are borne along outer margins of the leaves.
Photo credit: Jonathan Boow

Regional Pest Management Plan (RPMP) status

  • Not a legally declared pest

View more about the RPMP statuses

General description

Fern < 75 cm tall. Rhizome is short and creeping. Stipes are yellow-brown. Fronds are pinnate and green or variegated. Pinnae are < 60 x 40 cm, arranged in 2-7 pairs, narrow and often forked when basal. Spores are borne along outer margin of the pinnae.

What you need to know

Although Cretan brake is not a legally declared pest plant, it may still be invasive in some situations. Consider lower-risk alternatives for your garden, such as native plants.


Open areas, riparian margins, forest, rock faces, wasteland, urban areas, roadsides.


Spores dispersed by wind and water. Human-mediated dispersal through deliberate plantings.

Impact on environment

May outcompete and suppress regeneration of native vegetation. May hybridise with native Pteris species.


Site Management

Follow up treated areas 3 times per year. Encourage natural regeneration of native plants or replant treated areas where possible after 2-3 treatments to establish dense ground cover and minimise reinvasion.

Recommended approaches

Physical control

Method: Dig out.

Plant parts requiring disposal: All parts.

Disposal options: Remove to greenwaste or landfill if practical.


Biocontrol is currently not available for this species.

Community agrichemical control recommendations

No qualifications: Cut stump and paste freshly cut base of stems with metsulfuron gel.

Certified Handler/Experienced agrichemical user: Foliar spray with 5g metsulfuron-methyl per 10L of water and 20ml penetrant.

Caution: When using any herbicide or pesticide please read the label thoroughly to ensure that all instructions and safety requirements are followed.

Cretan brake growing on a forest floor.
It may outcompete native vegetation.
Photo credit: Alastair MacArthur
Fronds of cretan brake leaf.
The Cretan brake fern can grow up to 75cm tall.
Photo credit: Jonathan Boow