Subordinate Taxa
Scientific Name:
Schizaeaceae Kaulf., Wesen Farrenkr. [119] (1827)
Type Taxon:

Terrestrial ferns. Rhizomes erect or creeping, bearing septate hairs. Fronds monomorphic, not articulated to rhizome, divided into proximal sterile portions and much shorter distal fertile portions. Sterile portions of the frond very narrow, undivided or branching dichotomously, glabrous or hairy or scabrid. Veins free. Fertile portions of the frond highly reduced and modified, divided pinnately (NZ) or pseudodigitately (not NZ). Sporangia borne in one row either side of midrib on abaxial surface of each fertile branch, not in sori, ovoid or ellipsoid, attached basally, with a horizontal annulus around the upward-pointing apex, dehiscing by a vertical longitudinal slit, maturing ±simultaneously; 128–256 spores per sporangium. Homosporous; spores monolete, variously papillate or scabrate or granulate, lacking chlorophyll.


A family of two genera and about 30 species (Smith et al. 2006). Earlier classifications have varied in their treatment of the Schizaeales. Allan (1961) and Kramer (1990) included the Lygodiaceae and Anemiaceae in the Schizaeaceae, whereas Pichi Sermolli (1977) maintained all three as separate families. Three families are now generally recognised within the Schizaeales (Smith et al. 2006; Christenhusz et al. 2011).


The Schizaeaceae are terrestrial ferns recognised by their creeping rhizomes bearing septate hairs, linear or fan-shaped fronds, free veins, very short fertile portions of the frond borne distally on much longer unbranched or dichotomously branching sterile portions, sporangia not in sori, and base chromosome numbers of 77, 94 and 103.


Widely distributed in tropical and south temperate regions, with one species also in North America. One genus with four species in New Zealand; none endemic.

Indigenous (Non-endemic)
Number of species in New Zealand within Schizaeaceae Kaulf.
Indigenous (Non-endemic)4
Brownsey, P.J.; Perrie, L.R. 2014: Schizaeaceae. In: Breitwieser, I; Heenan, P.B.; Wilton, A.D. (ed.) Flora of New Zealand — Ferns and Lycophytes. Fascicle 5. Manaaki Whenua Press, Lincoln.
Brownsey, P.J.; Smith-Dodsworth, J.C. 2000: New Zealand ferns and allied plants. Edition 2. David Bateman, Auckland.
Christenhusz, M.J.M.; Zhang, X.-C.; Schneider, H. 2011: A linear sequence of extant families and genera of lycophytes and ferns. Phytotaxa 19: 7–54.
Kaulfuss, G.F. 1827: Das Wesen der Farrenkräuter. Cnobloch, Leipzig.
Kramer, K.U. 1990: Schizaeaceae. 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. 258–263.
Kramer, K.U.; Green, P.S. 1990: Pteridophytes and gymnosperms. Kubitzki, K. (ed.) The Families and Genera of Vascular Plants. Vol. 1. Springer-Verlag, Berlin.
Pichi Sermolli, R.E.G. 1977: Tentamen Pteridophytorum genera in taxonomicum ordinem redigendi. Webbia 31: 313–512.
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.