Thelypteridaceae - Marsh fern family


Description of the family

Terrestrial or epilithic ferns. Rhizome creeping or sub- to erect, simple or branched with narrow or broad scales on the rhizome and main axes. Fronds monomorphic, tufted or widely spaced. Stipe not articulated. Lamina 1-2-pinnate (-3-pinnatifid), sometimes with proliferating buds on the rhachis, with hairs occuring on the axes and lamina surfaces; venation simple or branched, free or anastomising, often with an excurrent vein running to the sinus between two pinna lobes, ending near or in the margin. Sori circular to linear, not marginal, exindusiate or with reniform indusium, homosporous.

Worldwide: c.1000 species, the generic classification for the family is diverse depending on which author is being used, ± cosmopolitan.



  • Amauropelta Kunze
  • Amblovenatum J.P. Roux
  • Ampelopteris Kunze
  • Christella H. Lév.
  • Cyclosorus Link
  • Macrothelypteris (H. Itô) Ching
  • Menisorus Alston
  • Metathelypteris (H. Itô) Ching
  • Pneumatopteris Nakai
  • Pseudocyclosorus Ching
  • Pseudophegopteris Ching
  • Sphaerostephanos J. Sm. ex Hook.
  • Stegnogramma Blume
  • Thelypteris Schmidel


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