The Plant List — A working list for all plant species

⚠ Version 1 of The Plant List has been superseded.

You should refer instead to the current version of The Plant List.

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 35 plant families and 568 plant genera.

The Plant List includes 46,428 scientific plant names of species rank for the Pteridophytes. Of these 9,294 are accepted species names.

The Plant List includes a further 3,533 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 46,428 species names for the Pteridophytes recorded in The Plant List, are as follows:

Status Total
Accepted 9,294 20.0%
Synonym 15,876 34.2%
Unplaced 0 0%
Unassessed 21,258 45.8%

All names

The status of the 49,961 names (including infraspecific names) for the Pteridophytes recorded in The Plant List, are as follows:

Status Total
Accepted 9,800 19.6%
Synonym 18,680 37.4%
Unplaced 0 0%
Unassessed 21,481 43.0%

The confidence with which the status of the 46,428 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 9,279 15,649 0 0 24,928 53.7%
Low confidence 15 227 0 21,258 21,500 46.3%

The source of the species name record found in The Plant List for the Pteridophytes, are as follows:

Source of record Accepted Synonym Unplaced Unassessed Misapplied Total
IPNI 0 0 0 16,065 0 16,065 34.6%
TICA 0 0 0 1 0 1 0.0%
Tropicos 9,294 15,876 0 5,161 0 30,331 65.3%
WCSP (in review) 0 0 0 31 0 31 0.1%