of ferns
fern with sheet whisk before and after unfolding.
Classification: Organism
domain: Eukaryoten (Eucaryota)
realm: Plants (Plantae)
Unterreich: Container plants (Tracheobionta)
over department: Container pore plants
department: Ferns
scientific name
  • Ophioglossopsida
  • Marattiopsida
  • Polypodiopsida

as ferns (Polypodiophyta) designated plants form form and species-rich department of the container pore plants. In the vernacular they carry many different names, as for example for “witch leaders”.

Today those are well-known depending upon expert opinion between 9.000 and 12.000 kinds,are divided in approximately 250 kinds. In Central Europe about 100 kinds are resident.

Table of contents


in the earth age carbon before approximately 400Millions years formed enormous forests for fern and created thus the basis for the today's hard coal - occurrences. They are older than the seed plants and belong thus to the oldest plants of the earth.

distinguishing features

depending upon kind point thosePlants in to several times pinnated, rarely ganzrandige sheet whisks up, those summer-green or also winter and/or. to be evergreen can. The reproduction takes place by Sporen, which are formed on the lower surface of the whisks in certain way.

Change of generations

of the changes of generations of the fern plants is remarkable. A Meiospore germinates near and it develops the Gametophyt, with ferns pro thallium or also Vorkeim mentioned. It has usually the form of a small, herzförmigen rag. On the lower surface of the pro thallium developthe reproduction organs, in which the Gameten (Gamet) is formed. Spermatozoiden are formed in the male organs (Antheridien). Fertilization can take place only if water is present. Then the Spermatozoiden swims to the female organs (Archegonien) and the Eizelle (Zygote) fertilizes. From the fertilized Eizelle develops an embryo to a Sporophyten (Sporophyt) becomes. On the Sporophyten grouped Sporangien grows at sheets to Sori, in which Sporen are formed.These sheets are called Sporophylle. The Sporen are spread after opening the Sporangien by the wind and to germinate out, if they arrive at soil with favorable conditions. The change of generations is called heterophasisch heteromorph, there it on two different phases(Gametophyt, Sporophyt) with different appearance (morphology) is based.


of ferns are world-wide common. They come up to few light-loving kinds almost exclusively at shady and damp places in the forest, into wall cracks, rock columns and ravines, on brook bankso.a. forwards. The ferns in the Tropics have the spreading emphasis. Thus one finds the largest fern plants , the tree ferns in the tropical rain forest for example.


in former times ferns were called witch herb or witch leaders, there oneneither seeds nor Keimlinge to them found. One stated that fern plants only in the Johannisnacht (24. June) to flower and the possession of fern seed humans to luck and supernatural abilities help can.

In the literature this faith is in Shakespeares drama „Heinrich IV. “perpetuates: We go invisibly, because we got fern seeds.

Thus Hildegard of being gene writes over the fern: “The fern is warm and drying and has also a middle measure of juice. The devil flees thosePlant, and it have certain forces, which in accordance with-suspect to those the sun, because them illuminate like the sun the dark. She sells in such a way deceit pictures, fantasias, and therefore they do not love the bad spirit. At the place, at which it grows,if the devil its Gaukelspiel exercises rarely, and the house, at which the devil is, avoids and abhors it. Lightning, thunder and hail break in there rarely, and on the field, on which she grows, it hails rarely. Who thatFern with itself carries, is safe before the adjustments of the devil and before bad notices on life and limb. “


usual Natternzunge (Ophioglossum vulgatum) and genuine moon lozenge (Botrychium lunaria), Ophioglossaceae, Ophioglossales, Ophioglossopsida
king fern (Osmunda regalis), king fern plants (Osmundaceae), Osmundales
usual pill fern (Pilularia globulifera) and four-leaf clover fern (Marsilea quadrifolia), clover fern plants (Marsileaceae), Marsileales
Polypodium californicum, Tüpfelfarngewächse (Polypodiaceae), Polypodiales

biological systematics of the ferns is not yet completely understood. Thereforeare different arrangements in orders and families. The last large analysis, which includes also ribosomale DNA, was published 1995 (Kathleen Pryer, Alan Smith, Judith Skog; Far from journal 85 (4) (1995)). It contains however only one family tree, but noneClassifying scheme.

Into the Wikipedia used systematics are systematics of the ferns after the check list OF World Ferns of Michael Hassler and Brian the Swale.

All families and orders the ferns into the following three classes are divided:

  • Marattiopsida
    • Marattiales
      • Marattiaceae
  • Psilotopsida
    • Psilotales
      • Natternzungengewächse (Ophioglossaceae)
      • Psilotaceae
  • Polypodiopsida
    • of skin ferns (Hymenophyllales)
    • Osmundales
    • Gleicheniales
      • Gleicheniaceae
      • Dipteridaceae
      • Matoniaceae
    • Schizaeales
      • of gap branch ferns (Schizaeaceae)
    • Marsileales
    • tree ferns (Cyatheales)
      • cup fern plants (Cyatheaceae)
      • Metaxyaceae
      • Lophosoriaceae
      • Loxomataceae
      • Plagiogyriaceae
      • Dicksoniaceae
    • Lindsaeales
      • Lindsaeaceae
      • Lonchitaceae
    • Pteridales
      • Acrostichaceae
      • Coniogrammaceae
      • Llaveaceae
      • of woman hair fern Mrs. (Adiantaceae)
      • Vittariaceae
      • Taenitidaceae
      • of seam fern plants (Pteridaceae)
      • Bommeriaceae
      • Notholaenaceae
      • Cheilanthaceae
    • Dennstaedtiales
      • of eagle fern plants (Dennstaedtiaceae)
      • Monachosoraceae
      • Hypolepidaceae
    • Aspleniales
    • Athyriales
      • Cystopteridaceae
      • Onocleaceae
      • of rib fern plants (Blechnaceae)
      • Woodsiaceae
      • of woman fern Mrs. (Athyriaceae)
      • rag fern plants (Thelypteridaceae)
    • Dryopteridales
      • Hypodematiaceae
      • Lomariopsidaceae
      • of worm fern plants (Dryopteridaceae)
    • Polypodiales

see also: Systematics of the Pflanzenreichs


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