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Athyrium filix-femina0.jpg
Athyrium filix-femina
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Pteridophyta
Class: Polypodiopsida /
 Pteridopsida (disputed)
Order: Polypodiales
Family: Athyriaceae
Genus: Athyrium

See text

19th century illustration of A. filix-femina

Athyrium (lady-fern) is a genus of about 180 species of terrestrial ferns, with a cosmopolitan distribution. It is placed in the family Athyriaceae, in the order Polypodiales.[1][2] Its genus name is from Greek a- ('without') and Latinized Greek thureos ('shield'), describing its inconspicuous indusium (sorus' covering).[3] The common name "lady fern" refers in particular to the common lady fern.[4]

Athyrium species are used as food plants by the larvae of some Lepidoptera species including Small Angle Shades and Sthenopis auratus.


There are about 180, including:


  1. ^ Alan R. Smith, Kathleen M. Pryer, Eric Schuettpelz, Petra Korall, Harald Schneider & Paul G. Wolf (2006). "A classification for extant ferns" (PDF). Taxon 55 (3): 705–731. doi:10.2307/25065646. 
  2. ^ Maarten J. M. Christenhusz, Xian-Chun Zhang & Harald Schneider (2011). "A linear sequence of extant families and genera of lycophytes and ferns" (PDF). Phytotaxa 19: 7–54. 
  3. ^ Lloyd H. Snyder, Jr.; James G. Bruce (1 October 1986). Field Guide to the Ferns and Other Pteridophytes of Georgia. University of Georgia Press. p. 114. ISBN 978-0-8203-2385-5. Retrieved 26 September 2013. 
  4. ^ Entry "lady fern", New Oxford American Dictionary 3rd edition (2010) by Oxford University Press, Inc.