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The common viper tongue ( Ophioglossum vulgatum ) and the common moon rue ( Botrychium lunaria ) belong to the family of the viper tongue plants (Ophioglossaceae)
The royal fern ( Osmunda regalis ) gave the family of the royal fern plants (Osmundaceae) its name
The common pill fern ( Pilularia globulifera ) and the four-leaf clover ( Marsilea quadrifolia ) belong to the family of the clover family (Marsileaceae)
Polypodium californicum is a member of the potted fern family (Polypodiaceae), a very species-rich family
Use of fern as a garden plant

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 .


One for the Bela Krajina typical Steljnik where bracken as bedding ( Slovenian stelja was grown) for stables

Some ferns are used as ornamental plants .

Despite its toxicity, young bracken is eaten regionally as a salad or vegetable.

In the Weißkrain , bracken was cultivated as bedding on so-called Steljniki .


The ferns are according to the system used here by Smith et al. (2006) divided into four classes, all of which are monophyletic:

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:

Picture gallery


Individual evidence

  1. ^ A b 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, ISSN  0040-0262 , pp. 705–731, 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 . @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot / www.ingentaconnect.com
  2. ^ 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).
  3. Karl Ulrich Kramer (ed.): Illustrated flora of Central Europe. Pteridophyta, Spermatophyta . Founded by Gustav Hegi. 3rd, completely revised edition. Volume I. Part 1 Pteridophyta . Paul Parey, Berlin / Hamburg 1984, ISBN 3-489-50020-2 .
  4. Jost Fitschen (first name), Franz H. Meyer, Ulrich Hecker, Hans Rolf Höster, Fred-Günter Schroeder: Gehölzflora. A book to identify the trees and bushes that are growing and planted in the wild in Central Europe. With bud and fruit key . 12. revised and additional edition. Quelle & Meyer, Wiebelsheim 2007, ISBN 978-3-494-01422-7 , p. 6 .
  5. ^ Maintaining ferns - as a houseplant and in the garden - NDR.de - Ratgeber - Garden - Ornamental Plants. In: ndr.de. Retrieved September 25, 2018 .
  6. limited preview in the Google book search
  7. limited preview in the Google book search
  8. ^ The Land of Birch Trees :: Prvi interaktivni multimedijski portal, MMC RTV Slovenija. In: rtvslo.si. Retrieved September 25, 2018 .
  9. ^ Metlika - Slovene regions and municipalities in numbers. In: stat.si. Retrieved September 25, 2018 .
  10. ^ Thomas N. Taylor, Edith L. Taylor, Michael Krings: Paleobotany. The Biology and Evolution of Fossil Plants . 2nd Edition. Elsevier / Academic Press, Amsterdam et al. 2009, ISBN 978-0-12-373972-8 , pp. 401–405 ( limited preview in Google Book search).

Web links

Commons : Ferns  - collection of images, videos and audio files