Fern Classification

Document Type

Contribution to Book

Journal/Book Title/Conference

Biology and Evolution Ferns of Lycophytes


Cambridge University Press

Publication Date



‘Fern classification’, is essentially an update of the 2006 paper (in Taxon) by the same authors: A. R. Smith, K. M. Pryer, E. Schuettpelz, P. Korall, H. Schneider and P. Wolf. The classification is based on the consensus relationships that are presented in Chapter 15 by two of these authors; the common authorship results in close compatability, but also a little repetition, between the two chapters. Ferns are described as a monophyletic group of about 9000 species (compare with the estimate of over 12 000 given in Chapter 14) with several shared characteristics. Accounts are presented of 37 fern families in 11 orders within four classes: Psilotopsida, Equisetopsida, Marattiopsida and Polypodiopsida. For each family there is a description of characters, the numbers and names of genera, chromosome numbers, synonyms, references and outstanding classification problems. Although recent molecular analyses have produced some surprises, and despite the need to resolve some circumscriptions, many of the families and monotypic genera that had been recognized in past major classifications, mostly morphologically based, still have strong support, with evidence of monophyly. The chapter finishes with appendices listing familial and generic names, both those accepted by the authors and others. The family summaries and genus placements, although no doubt already familiar to those who work in the field of fern classification, provide a useful reference source for those who do not.

This document is currently not available here.