Description of the family

Large terrestrial, perennial ferns. Rhizome erect, large, roots fleshy covered in fleshy persistent outgrows. Stipe with persistent fleshy stipules and a basal swelling (pulvinus). Fronds large, numerous, tufted, 2-pinnate, basiscopically developed; secondary rhachis with a basal pulvinus; veins simple or forked, free. Indumentum composed of simple uniseriate or branched hairs, and short-stalked, slender scales occurring along the axes. Sporangia large, clustered in double rows near vein endings on underside of frond, free or fused into elongate bivalved group of synangia; without an indusium, homosporous.

Comment: The genus Marattia was recently split into three distinct genera: Marattia, Eupodium and Ptisana.

Worldwide: Tropical and warm areas; 6 genera and c. 150 species.



  • Ptisana Murdock


  • Crouch, N.R., Klopper, R.R., Burrows, J.E. & Burrows, S.M. (2011) Ferns of Southern Africa, A comprehensive guide. Struik Nature.
  • Jacobsen, W.B.G. (1983) The Ferns and Fern Allies of Southern Africa. Butterworths, Durban and Pretoria.
  • Roux, J.P. (2001) Conspectus of Southern African Pteridophyta. Southern African Botanical Diversity Network Report, 13: 1-222.
  • Schelpe, E.A.C.L.E. (1970) Pteridophyta. Flora Zambesiaca, 0: 1-254.