Notice: Atrium is currently undergoing maintenance. During this time, some or all images may not be displayed.

Family: Pteridaceae

Kingdom: Plantae Rank: Family Parent: Polypodiales Status: Valid

Common Names:

  • MAIDENHAIR FERN FAMILY - English, United States of America
  • BRAKE FAMILY - English, United States of America

Morphological Description

Family Recognition in the Field: Plants typically growing on rocks (except 1 species aquatic or semi-aquatic); sporangia at or near margins of the ultimate leaf segments with the leaf margins usually recurved over sporangia to form false indusia (except in Astrolepis).

Diagnosis: East TX species mostly on rocks, sometimes terrestrial (or in Ceratopteris aquatic or semiaquatic); leaves monomorphic (rarely somewhat dimorphic or in Ceratopteris distinctly dimorphic); leaf blades 1–4(–5) pinnate or 1–more pinnate-pinnatifid; sporangia abaxial on the blades, marginal or submarginal; margins of ultimate segments (= smallest subdivisions) of leaf blades recurved to form false indusia (except in Astrolepis).


Notes: The taxa included here in the Pteridaceae have been variously treated at the family level. For instance, some authorities (e.g., Carlquist & Schneider 2000a) segregate Cheilanthes and close relatives into the Cheilanthaceae, while others (e.g., Lellinger 1985) recognize some of the genera as Sinopteridaceae. We follow Windham’s (1993a) treatment (slightly modified to include Ceratopteris—see discussion under that genus) and recognize the Pteridaceae as a cosmopolitan family of ca. 40 genera and ca. 1,000 species. Six genera occur in East TX. The newer name Adiantaceae has sometimes been applied to the family.