The Plant List — A working list for all plant species

⚠ Version 1.1 of The Plant List has been superseded and should no longer be used.

The new version is available at The new version is enhanced, using more data sources including Taxonomic Expert Networks and will be more frequently updated.

The Pteridophytes (Ferns and fern allies)

Matteuccia struthiopteris (L.) Tod.

Pteridophytes are vascular plants and have leaves (known as fronds), roots and sometimes true stems, and tree ferns have full trunks. Examples include ferns, horsetails and club-mosses. Fronds in the largest species of ferns can reach some six metres in length!

Many ferns from tropical rain forests are epiphytes, which means they only grow on other plant species; their water comes from the damp air or from rainfall running down branches and tree trunks. There are also some purely aquatic ferns such as water fern or water velvet (Salvinia molesta) and mosquito ferns (Azolla species).

Pteridophytes do not have seeds or flowers either, instead they also reproduce via spores.

There are around 13,000 species of Pteridophytes.

You can also browse genera found in Pteridophytes.

View statistics at the bottom of the page.

Families in Pteridophytes


Species of Pteridophytes contained within The Plant List belong to 48 plant families and 587 plant genera.

The Plant List includes 47,439 scientific plant names of species rank for the Pteridophytes. Of these 10,620 are accepted species names.

The Plant List includes a further 3,663 scientific plant names of infraspecific rank for the Pteridophytes. We do not intend The Plant List to be complete for names of infraspecific rank. These are primarily included because names of species rank are synonyms of accepted infraspecific names.

Species names

The status of the 47,439 species names for the Pteridophytes recorded in The Plant List, are as follows:

Pie chart of binomial name statuses
Status Total
Accepted 10,620 22.4%
Synonym 14,503 30.6%
Unplaced 0 0%
Unassessed 22,316 47.0%

All names

The status of the 51,102 names (including infraspecific names) for the Pteridophytes recorded in The Plant List, are as follows:

Pie chart of all name statuses
Status Total
Accepted 11,034 21.6%
Synonym 17,579 34.4%
Unplaced 0 0%
Unassessed 22,489 44.0%

The confidence with which the status of the 47,439 species names recorded in The Plant List for the Pteridophytes, are assigned as follows:

Confidence level Accepted Synonym Unplaced Unassessed Total
High confidence 0 0 0 0 0 0%
Medium confidence 10,590 14,451 0 0 25,041 52.8%
Low confidence 30 52 0 22,316 22,398 47.2%

The source of the species name records found in The Plant List for the Pteridophytes is as follows:

Source of record Accepted Synonym Unplaced Unassessed Misapplied Total
IPNI 0 0 0 17,583 0 17,583 37.1%
TICA 0 0 0 9 0 9 0.0%
Tropicos 10,608 14,462 0 4,664 0 29,734 62.7%
WCSP (in review) 12 41 0 60 0 113 0.2%