Gleichenia microphylla, photographed by Melburnian.

Belongs within: Leptosporangiatae.

The Gleicheniaceae are a family of ferns with distinctive forked fronds. They are found in tropical or subtropical habitats.

Characters (from Naumann 1993): Plants coarse, terrestrial. Stems long-creeping, forked, stele protostelic (a solid rod of vascular tissue with phloem surrounding xylem), covered with scales or hairs. Leaves monomorphic, large, scrambling or trailing, one to many times forked. Petiole not articulate to stem, with pair of opposite pinnae and arrested bud at apex, or rachis continuing and producing two or more pairs of opposite pinnae. Pinnae one to several times forked, with arrested bud at each fork; indument of simple, branched, or stellate hairs (or scales). Veins free, one- to four-forked. Sori round, indusia absent. Sporangia two to many on slightly elevated receptacle, sessile to subsessile; annulus complete, transverse, medial, longitudinally dehiscent; spores 120-800 per sporangium. Spores all alike, whitish to yellowish, bilateral to globose, monolete or trilete, generally smooth without elaborately ornamented surface. Gametophyte borne above ground, green, obcordate to elongate.

    |--Diplopterygium glaucum [incl. Gleichenia japonica] PS01
    |--Gleichenipteris antarcticus KTT04
    |--Sticherus WP05
    |    |--S. cunninghamii [=Gleichenia cunninghamii Hew. ex Hooker 1844] C49
    |    |--S. flabellatus [=Gleichenia flabellata Brown 1810] C49
    |    `--S. palmatus WP05
    |--Dicranopteris I88
    |    |--D. bifida [=Sticherus bifidus] L54
    |    |--D. flexuosa L54
    |    `--D. linearis (Burmann) Underwood 1907 (see below for synonymy) I88
    |         |--D. l. var. linearis I88
    |         `--D. l. var. montana Holtt. 1957 [incl. D. warburgii (Christ) Nakai 1950] I88
    |--Hicriopteris C49
    `--Gleichenia CD07
         |--G. bifida J87
         |--G. circinata A27
         |    |--G. c. var. circinata C49
         |    `--G. c. var. hecistophylla [incl. G. c. var. alpina] C49
         |--G. cryptocarpa M03
         |--G. dicarpa Brown 1810 CD07
         |--G. gigantea Wallich ex Hooker & Bauer 1840 I88
         |--G. microphylla C49
         |--G. quadripartita [incl. G. acutifolia] M03
         `--G. revoluta J87

Dicranopteris linearis (Burmann) Underwood 1907 [=Polypodium lineare Burmann 1768, Gleichenia linearis (Burmann) Clarke 1880; incl. G. dichotoma, G. lanigera Don 1825] I88

*Type species of generic name indicated


[A27] Andersen, J. C. 1927. Popular names of New Zealand plants. Transactions and Proceedings of the New Zealand Institute 57: 905-977.

[CD07] Cantino, P. D., J. A. Doyle, S. W. Graham, W. S. Judd, R. G. Olmstead, D. E. Soltis, P. S. Soltis & M. J. Donoghue. 2007. Towards a phylogenetic nomenclature of Tracheophyta. Taxon 56 (3): E1-E44.

[C49] Crookes, M. W. 1949. A revised and annotated list of New Zealand Filicinae. Transactions and Proceedings of the Royal Society of New Zealand 77 (2): 209-225.

[I88] Iwatsuki, K. 1988. An enumeration of the pteridophytes of Nepal. In The Himalayan Plants vol. 1 (H. Ohba & S. B. Malla, eds) The University Museum, University of Tokyo, Bulletin 31: 231-339.

[J87] Judd, W. S. 1987. Floristic study of Morne La Visite and Pic Macaya National Parks, Haiti. Bulletin of the Florida State Museum – Biological Sciences 32 (1): 1-136.

[KTT04] Klavins, S. D., T. N. Taylor & E. L. Taylor. 2004. Matoniaceous ferns (Gleicheniales) from the Middle Triassic of Antactica. Journal of Paleontology 78 (1): 211-217.

[L54] Lötschert, W. 1954. Beitrag zur Pteridophyten-Flora von Mittel-Amerika. Senckenbergiana Biologica 35 (1-2): 109-119.

[M03] Macloskie, G. 1903. Pteridophyta, ferns and fernlike plants. In Reports of the Princeton University Expeditions to Patagonia, 1896-1899, vol. 8 – Botany (W. B. Scott, ed.) pp. 127-138. The University: Princeton (New Jersey).

[PS01] Pryer, K. M., A. R. Smith, J. S. Hunt & J. Y. Dubuisson. 2001. rbcL data reveal two monophyletic groups of filmy ferns (Filicopsida: Hymenophyllaceae). American Journal of Botany 88 (6): 1118-1130.

[WP05] Wikström, N., & K. M. Pryer. 2005. Incongruence between primary sequence data and the distribution of a mitochondrial atp1 group II intron among ferns and horsetails. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 36: 484-493.

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