Subordinate Taxa
Scientific Name:
Onocleaceae Pic.Serm., Webbia 24: 708 (1970)
Type Taxon:

Terrestrial ferns. Rhizomes long-creeping (NZ) or short-creeping to erect (not NZ), scaly. Fronds dimorphic, not articulated to rhizome. Sterile laminae pinnatifid to 1-pinnate-pinnatifid, catadromous, papery or herbaceous or coriaceous, glabrous or with very scattered scales and hairs. Fertile laminae 1–2-pinnate, blade greatly reduced, coriaceous. Veins free or reticulate, areoles without included veinlets. Sori round, on short receptacles, borne on abaxial surface, enclosed by inrolled pinna margins; paraphyses absent; indusia present or absent; sporangial maturation mixed. Sporangia with vertical annulus, usually 64 spores per sporangium. Homosporous; spores monolete, chlorophyllous; perispores with a few folds, minutely echinate.


A family of four genera and five species (PPG 1 2016), previously included in Dryopteridaceae (Kramer 1990). Onocleaceae is sister to Blechnaceae and includes Matteucia, Onoclea, Onocleopsis and Pentarhizidium (Gastony & Ungerer 1997; Smith et al. 2006).


The Onocleaceae includes terrestrial ferns with strongly dimorphic fronds. The sterile fronds are pinnatifid to 1-pinnate-pinnatifid, and the fertile fronds 1–2-pinnate, with greatly reduced blades. The sori are round and enclosed by the inrolled pinna margins. Spores are monolete and chlorophyllous.


A family largely confined to north temperate regions but with one genus, Onocleopsis, extending into Mexico and Guatemala (Mickel & Smith 2004). The greatest diversity is found in China, with three genera and four species (Xing et al. 2013). One genus and species casual in New Zealand.

Number of species in New Zealand within Onocleaceae Pic.Serm.
Exotic: Casual1
Brownsey, P.J.; Perrie, L.R. 2020: Onocleaceae. In: Breitwieser, I. (ed.) Flora of New Zealand — Ferns and Lycophytes. Fascicle 28. Manaaki Whenua Press, Lincoln.
Gastony, G.J.; Ungerer, M.C. 1997: Molecular systematics and a revised taxonomy of the onocleoid ferns (Dryopteridaceae: Onocleeae). American Journal of Botany 84: 840–849.
Kramer, K.U. 1990: Dryopteridaceae. In: Kramer, K.U.; Green, P.S. Pteridophytes and gymnosperms. Vol. 1. In: Kubitzki, K. (ed.) The Families and Genera of Vascular Plants. Springer-Verlag, Berlin.
Mickel, J.T.; Smith, A.R. 2004: The Pteridophytes of Mexico. Memoirs of the New York Botanical Garden 88: 1–1054.
Pichi Sermolli, R.E.G. 1970: Fragmenta Pteridologiae II. Webbia 24: 699–722.
PPG 1 2016: A community-derived classification for extant lycophytes. Journal of Systematics and Evolution 54(6): 563–603.
Smith, A.R.; Pryer, K.M.; Schuettpelz, E.; Korall, P.; Schneider, H.; Wolf, P.G. 2006: A classification for extant ferns. Taxon 55(3): 705–731.
Xing, F.; Wang, F.; Kato, M. 2013: Onocleaceae. In: Zhengyi, W.; Raven, P.H.; Deyuan, H. (ed.) Flora of China. Lycopodiaceae through Polypodiaceae. Vol. 2–3. Science Press, Beijing.