The ferns are a group of vascular spore plants that form the sister group of the seed plants . The ferns include all vascular spore plants excluding the bear moss plants . Thus, they include the horsetail , the fork-leaf family , the adder-tongue family , the Marattiaceae and the real ferns . They are often referred to as monilophytes, but the names Monilophyta or Moniloformopses are not valid taxon names.
There are around 12,000 species worldwide, most of them in the ever-humid tropics. There are around 171 species in Europe and around 101 species in Central Europe.
In the Carboniferous (around 360-300 million years ago) ferns (in larger form than they are today, usually called tree ferns) together with horsetail and club moss plants formed huge forests and created the basis for most of today's hard coal deposits. The oldest fossil finds come from the lower Devonian (about 400 million years ago). Ferns are therefore probably older than the seed plants that first appeared in the Upper Devonian.
The ferns have all the characteristics of the vascular spore plants . They have a special form of vascular bundle : The proto xylem is restricted to certain lobes of the xylem cord . This is where the name Monilophyta comes from: Latin moniliformis means "collar-shaped". All recent representatives also have a specific insertion in plastids - Gen rps4 of nine nucleotides.
Ferns are common all over the world. With the exception of a few light-loving species, they occur almost exclusively in shady and damp places in the forest, in cracks in walls, crevices and gorges, on the banks of a stream or the like. The ferns have the main distribution center in the tropics . For example, the largest fern plants, the tree ferns, are found in the tropical rainforest .
Some ferns are used as ornamental plants .
Despite its toxicity, young bracken is eaten regionally as a salad or vegetable.
The ferns are according to the system used here by Smith et al. (2006) divided into four classes, all of which are monophyletic:
- Class Psilotopsida
- Class Equisetopsida [= Sphenopsida]
- Class Marattiopsida
- Class real ferns ( Polypodiopsida ) [= Filicopsida]
- For the breakdown down to the family level, see Real Ferns
Fossil groups that are at the base of the ferns that exist today are:
- Early fern-like plants
- Peter Sitte , Elmar Weiler , Joachim W. Kadereit , Andreas Bresinsky , Christian Körner : Textbook of botany for universities . Founded by Eduard Strasburger . 35th edition. Spektrum Akademischer Verlag, Heidelberg 2002, ISBN 3-8274-1010-X .
- Alan R. Smith, Kathleen M. Pryer, Eric Schuettpelz, Petra Korall, Harald Schneider, Paul G. Wolf: A classification for extant ferns. In: Taxon. Volume 55, No. 3, 2006, abstract, PDF file . , pp. 705-731,
- Nele Wellinghausen: Fern plants. Identification key for all domestic ferns, wild mats and horsetail. German Youth Association for Nature Observation (DJN), Hamburg 1997, ISBN 3-923376-13-8 .
- Alan R. Smith, Kathleen M. Pryer, Eric Schuettpelz, Petra Korall, Harald Schneider, Paul G. Wolf: A classification for extant ferns. In: Taxon. Volume 55, No. 3, 2006, abstract, ( Memento of the original dated February 12, 2017 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. PDF file . , pp. 705–731,
- TG Tutin, NA Burges, AO Chater, JR Edmondson, VH Heywood, DM Moore, DH Valentine, SM Walters, DA Webb (eds.): Flora Europaea . 2nd, revised edition. Volume 1: Psilotaceae to Platanaceae . Cambridge University Press, Cambridge / New York / Melbourne 1993, ISBN 0-521-41007-X (English).
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- limited preview in the Google book search
- limited preview in the Google book search
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