Pteridaceae - Brakes
Description of the family
Terrestrial, epilithic or (rarely) epiphytic ferns with a short life cycle or perennial. Rhizomes short or long, suberect, decumbent or creeping, often laterally branched; roots few or many, often fleshy. Stipe not articulated, often dark-coloured. Fronds tufted or widely spaced, mono- or dimorphic. Lamina pinnately compound, pedate, dichotomously forked or helicoid, often with a proliferating bud at the rhachis apex, herbaceous or coriaceous, glabrous or variously set with indumentum; ultimate segments often articulated; venation free (in sterile fronds) or forming a network, without included veinlets, ending in or near the margin, often in hydathodes. Indumentum composed of unicellular glands on the abaxial surface of the lamina, or needle-like hairs occuring on the axes and lamina and/or scales on the rhizome and stipe. Sori variously arranged, exindusiate or covered by a strongly modified marginal indusium. Sporangia often mixed with paraphyses (sterile hairs).
Comment: recent taxonomy treats the pteridoid ferns as comprising either 5 monophyletic subfamilies or, as treated here, 5 families, i.e. Parkeriaceae, Adiantaceae, Cryptogrammaceae, Sinopteridaceae and Pteridaceae.
Worldwide: 17 genera and c. 400 species, cosmopolitan but mainly tropical