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Pleopeltis polypodioides fronds on an oak limb
Scientific classification Edit this classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Tracheophytes
Division: Polypodiophyta
Class: Polypodiopsida
Order: Polypodiales
Suborder: Polypodiineae
Family: Polypodiaceae
Subfamilies and genera

See text.

  • Drynariaceae Ching 1978
  • Grammitidaceae Newman 1840
  • Gymnogrammitidaceae Ching 1966
  • Loxogrammaceae Ching ex Pichi-Sermolli 1975
  • Platyceriaceae Ching 1940
  • Pleurisoriopsidaceae Kurita & Ikebe ex Ching 1978

Polypodiaceae is a family of ferns. In the Pteridophyte Phylogeny Group classification of 2016 (PPG I), the family includes around 65 genera and an estimated 1,650 species and is placed in the order Polypodiales, suborder Polypodiineae.[1] A broader circumscription has also been used, in which the family includes other families kept separate in PPG I. Nearly all species are epiphytes, but some are terrestrial.[2]


Stems of Polypodiaceae range from erect to long-creeping. The fronds are entire, pinnatifid, or variously forked or pinnate. The petioles lack stipules. The scaly rhizomes are generally creeping in nature. Polypodiaceae species are found in wet climates, most commonly in rain forests. In temperate zones, most species tend to be epiphytic or epipetric.[2]

Notable examples of ferns in this family include the resurrection fern (Pleopeltis polypodioides) and the golden serpent fern (Phlebodium aureum).[2]


Two distinct circumscriptions of the family are in use. The Pteridophyte Phylogeny Group classification of 2016 (PPG I) uses a circumscription of Polypodiaceae in which the family is placed in the suborder Polypodiineae (eupolypods I), along with eight other families. The relationship between the families is shown in the consensus cladogram below.[1]

Polypodiineae (eupolypods I)










An alternative approach treats the suborder Polypodiineae as the family Polypodiaceae sensu lato, and reduces the families to subfamilies, so that the Polypodiaceae sensu stricto becomes the subfamily Polypodioideae.[3] The broader circumscription is used by Plants of the World Online, as of August 2019; for example, the Dryopteridaceae, shown above as a separate family, is included in its Polypodiaceae.[4] The broadly defined Polypodiaceae has been described as an "unwieldy megafamily".[5]


Molecular phylogenetic analysis has led to the division of the Polypodiaceae into six subfamilies, and to the inclusion of genera that have at various times been placed in other families, including the Drynariaceae, Grammitidaceae, Gymnogrammitidaceae, Loxogrammaceae, Platyceriaceae, and Pleurisoriopsidaceae.[1][6] The following cladogram shows a possible phylogenetic relationship between the subfamilies based on an analysis published in 2008; at the time, Grammitidoideae was not separated from Polypodioideae.[7][8]


Loxogrammoideae Schneid. 2011

Drynarioideae Crabbe, Jermy & Mickel 1975

Platycerioideae Nayar 1970


Thylacoptereae Chen & Schneider 2019

Goniophlebieae Chen & Schneider 2019

Lecanopterideae Chen & Schneider 2019

Microsoreae Tu 1981

Lepisoreae Ching ex Hennipman, Veldhoen & Kramer 1990

Polypodioideae Sweet 1826

Campyloneuroideae Zhang & Wei 2022

Adetogrammoideae Zhang & Wei 2022

Serpocauloideae Zhang & Wei 2022

Grammitidoideae Link 1841

The subfamilies are treated as tribes in other systems. Mabberley, in 2008, treated all of Polypodiaceae except for the Platycerioideae (Platycerium and Pyrrosia) and the grammitid ferns, which he placed in Grammitidaceae, as the subfamily Polypodioideae, which he then divided into six tribes, four of which correspond to PPG I subfamilies (Drynarieae, Loxogrammeae, Microsoreae and Polypodieae) and others of which have been submerged (Selligueeae, now within Drynarioideae, and Lepisoreae, now within Microsoroideae).[9] Other systems also treat the subfamilies as tribes.[3] The equivalence is shown in the following table.

PPG I[1] Christenhusz & Chase (2014)[3]
Family Polypodiaceae J.Presl & C.Presl Subfamily Polypodioideae B.K.Nayar
     Subfamily Loxogrammoideae H.Schneid.       Tribe Loxogrammeae R.M.Tryon & A.F.Tryon
     Subfamily Platycerioideae B.K.Nayar       Tribe Platycerieae Christenh.
     Subfamily Drynarioideae Crabbe, Jermy & Mickel       Tribe Drynarieae Chandra
     Subfamily Microsoroideae B.K.Nayar       Tribe Microsoreae V.N.Tu
     Subfamily Polypodioideae Sweet       Tribe Polypodieae Hook. & Lindl. ex Duby
     Subfamily Grammitidoideae Parris & Sundue


In the list that follows, the taxa shown with the "(=)" prefix are considered to be synonyms for the accepted subfamily name that they follow. However, this does not necessarily imply that the subfamily contains all of the synonym's previous genera.[1][6]

Phylogeny of Polypodiaceae[10][11]













Microsorum species-group 2














Selliguea hastata
Grammitis billardierei
  • Subfamily Grammitidoideae Parris & Sundue [Grammitideae Presl; Mecosoreae Klotzsch; Pleurogrammeae Fée ex Pfeiffer]
Dictymia mckeei
Lacks sclerenchyma (supporting tissue) in plant body, except in the roots.[9]
Microsorum pteropus
Platycerium elephantotis
Fronds with stellate hairs (star-shaped, radiating from center).[9]
Polypodium appalachianum
  • Subfamily Serpocauloideae Zhang & Wei

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e PPG I (2016). "A community-derived classification for extant lycophytes and ferns". Journal of Systematics and Evolution. 54 (6): 563–603. doi:10.1111/jse.12229. S2CID 39980610.
  2. ^ a b c Panigrahi, G. & Patnaik, S.N. (1961). "Cytology of Some Genera of Polypodiaceae in Eastern India". Nature. 191 (4794): 1207–1208. Bibcode:1961Natur.191.1207P. doi:10.1038/1911207a0. S2CID 4177788.
  3. ^ a b c Christenhusz, Maarten J.M. & Chase, Mark W. (2014). "Trends and concepts in fern classification". Annals of Botany. 113 (9): 571–594. doi:10.1093/aob/mct299. PMC 3936591. PMID 24532607.
  4. ^ "Dryopteridaceae Herter". Plants of the World Online. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Retrieved 2019-08-02.
  5. ^ Sundue, Michael A.; Parris, Barbara S.; Ranker, Tom A.; Smith, Alan R.; Fujimoto, Erin L.; Zamora-Crosby, Delia; Morden, Clifford W.; Chiou, Wen-Liang; Chen, Cheng-Wei; Rouhan, Germinal; Hirai, Regina Y. & Prado, Jefferson (2014). "Global phylogeny and biogeography of grammitid ferns (Polypodiaceae)". Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution. 81: 195–206. doi:10.1016/j.ympev.2014.08.017. PMID 25173566. S2CID 21098484.
  6. ^ a b Christenhusz, Maarten; Zhang, Xian-Chun & Schneider, Harald (2011). "A linear sequence of extant families and genera of lycophytes and ferns". Phytotaxa. 19: 7–54. doi:10.11646/phytotaxa.19.1.2. Retrieved 2013-08-11.
  7. ^ Schuettpelz, Eric & Pryer, Kathleen M. (2008). "Fern phylogeny" (PDF). In Ranker, Tom A. & Haufler, Christopher H. (eds.). Biology and Evolution of Ferns and Lycophytes. Cambridge University Press. Retrieved 2019-08-02.
  8. ^ Chen, Chi-Chuan; Hyvönen, Jaakko; Schneider, Harald (2020). "Exploring phylogeny of the microsoroid ferns (Polypodiaceae) based on six plastid DNA markers". Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution. 143: 106665. doi:10.1016/j.ympev.2019.106665. hdl:10138/321115. PMID 31704235. S2CID 207948290.
  9. ^ a b c d Mabberley, D.J. (2008). Mabberley's plant-book: a portable dictionary of plants, their classification and uses. Cambridge University Press. p. 690. ISBN 978-0-521-82071-4.
  10. ^ Nitta, Joel H.; Schuettpelz, Eric; Ramírez-Barahona, Santiago; Iwasaki, Wataru; et al. (2022). "An Open and Continuously Updated Fern Tree of Life". Frontiers in Plant Science. 13: 909768. doi:10.3389/fpls.2022.909768. PMC 9449725. PMID 36092417.
  11. ^ "Tree viewer: interactive visualization of FTOL". FTOL v1.3.0. 2022. Retrieved 12 December 2022.
  12. ^ Testo, Weston L.; Field, Ashley R.; Sessa, Emily B. & Sundue, Michael (2019). "Phylogenetic and Morphological Analyses Support the Resurrection of Dendroconche and the Recognition of Two New Genera in Polypodiaceae Subfamily Microsoroideae" (PDF). Systematic Botany. 44 (4): 737–752. doi:10.1600/036364419X15650157948607. S2CID 208176686. Retrieved 2020-02-11.

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