Blechnaceae - Hard ferns
Photo: P. Ballings
Description of the family
Terrestrial, epiphytic or lithophytic ferns. Rhizome widely creeping and often stoloniferous or suberect to erect, with scales. Stipe not articulated. Fronds pinnate or pinnatifid (rarely 2-pinnatifid), dimorphic, fertile strongly contracted. Young fronds often tinged with red. Veins free, simple or forked or anastomosing without included veinlets, always ending near the margin. Indumentum composed of bracts and unicellular hairs occurring on the rhizome, the axes and the lamina surfaces. Sori short and discontinuous or long and continuous, usually borne on a secondary vein parallel to the costa, between the costa and the margin. Indusium linear, continuous or discontinuous, mostly entire, opening towards the costa, or exindusiate.
Worldwide: 9 genera and c.200 species worldwide, cosmopolitan.