in Lamarck et al., Encycl. 5: 714. 1804.
Stems slender, short-creeping, densely scaly; scales dark reddish brown to chestnut brown. Leaves clustered, 1–6 dm. Petiole pale or brownish, 5–30 cm, scaly proximally, otherwise glabrous. Blade oblong to oblanceolate, irregularly and pedately divided proximally (as in Pteris cretica) and pinnately divided distally, 10–35 × 13–25 cm; rachis slightly and evenly winged, wing constricted above each pinna pair. Pinnae 3–7 pairs, widely spaced, distal pinnae simple, adnate and decurrent to rachis; pinnae remaining green through winter, not articulate to rachis, lanceolate to linear; sterile pinnae wider than fertile pinnae (to ca. 1.2 cm), margins irregularly serrate to serrulate; fertile pinnae mostly less than 5 mm, margins entire to serrate at apex; adaxial costae with sparse, septate hairs; proximal pinnae with 1–4 elongate basal segments. Veins free, simple or forked. Sori narrow, blade tissue exposed abaxially. 2n = 116.
Habitat: Terrestrial or on rock in disturbed areas in circumneutral soils; primarily coastal plain.
Introduced; Ala., Ark., Fla., Ga., Ill., Ind., Ky., La., Md., Miss., N.Y., N.C., S.C., Tex., West Indies, South America in Argentina, Brazil, native to Asia.
Pteris multifida is found on old shady walls and masonry around cemeteries, dumps, and towns. It may no longer occur in Indiana. Juveniles of Pteris multifida may key to Pteris cretica.