Subordinate Taxa
Scientific Name:
Tectariaceae Panigrahi, J. Orissa Bot. Soc. 8: 41 (1986)
Type Taxon:
Tectaria Cav.

Climbing or terrestrial ferns. Rhizomes long-creeping (NZ) or short-creeping to erect (not NZ), scaly, bearing short phyllopodia (NZ) or phyllopodia absent (not NZ). Fronds monomorphic (NZ) or dimorphic (not NZ), articulated to the phyllopodia (NZ) or not articulated (not NZ). Laminae 1-pinnate (NZ) or entire to 4-pinnate-pinnatifid (not NZ), catadromous, herbaceous or coriaceous, scaly and hairy. Veins free (NZ) or reticulate (not NZ). Sori round (NZ) or elongate or anastomosing in lines (not NZ), superficial, borne on abaxial surface, near the margin (NZ) or throughout the lamina (not NZ), paraphyses present (NZ) or absent (not NZ); indusia absent (NZ) or reniform or peltate or elongate (not NZ); sporangial maturation mixed. Sporangia with vertical annulus, usually 64 spores per sporangium. Homosporous; spores monolete, lacking chlorophyll; perispores with irregular wing-like folds (NZ) or very variably ornamented (not NZ).


A family of seven genera and about 250 species (PPG 1 2016).

The extent of the Tectariaceae and the generic limits within the family were considered to be very uncertain by Smith et al. (2006). In particular, the placement of Arthropteris was contentious. The genus was previously allied with Oleandra in the Oleandraceae (Kramer 1990), and before that with Nephrolepis in the Nephrolepidaceae (Pichi Sermolli 1977). Allan (1961) and Bell (1998) included it in the Davalliaceae. More recent studies have suggested a sister relationship with Tectaria and related ferns (Liu et al. 2007; Schuettpelz & Pryer 2007). Based on more extensive sampling using chloroplast DNA, Liu et al. (2013) showed that Psammiosorus, a monotypic genus from Madagascar, and Arthropteris together form a well-supported and morphologically distinct clade. They proposed a new family, Arthropteridaceae, which included the single genus Arthropteris. However, the new family has not been widely accepted, and work by Zhang et al. (2016), based on plastid and nuclear markers, suggests that Tectariaceae comprises seven genera: Arthropteris, Draconopteris, Hypoderris, Malaifilix, Pteridrys, Tectaria and Triplophyllum.


Tectariaceae is a diverse and difficult family to characterise morphologically, especially with the inclusion of Arthropteris. However, in New Zealand, the only representative is a single species of Arthropteris, for which the distinguishing characters are atypical of the family as a whole. They are described under the genus.


A pantropical family, but with several species extending into north and south temperate regions. The greatest diversity is found in the Old World tropics. One non-endemic genus and species in New Zealand.

Indigenous (Non-endemic)
Number of species in New Zealand within Tectariaceae Panigrahi
Indigenous (Non-endemic)1
Bell, G.H. 1998: Davalliaceae. In: Flora of Australia. Vol. 48. 434–450.
Brownsey, P.J.; Perrie, L.R. 2018: Tectariaceae. In: Breitwieser, I.; Wilton, A.D. (ed.) Flora of New Zealand — Ferns and Lycophytes. Fascicle 20. Manaaki Whenua Press, Lincoln.
Kramer, K.U. 1990: Oleandraceae. 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.
Liu, H.-M.; Jiang, R.-H.; Guo, J.; Hovenkamp, P.; Perrie, L.R.; Shepherd, L.; Hennequin, S.; Schneider, H. 2013: Towards a phylogenetic classification of the climbing ferns genus Arthropteris. Taxon 62: 688–700.
Liu, H.-M.; Zhang, X.-C.; Chen, Z.-D.; Dong, S.-Y.; Qiu, Y.-L. 2007: Polyphyly of the fern family Tectariaceae sensu Ching: insights from cpDNA sequences data. Science in China, Series C, Life Sciences 50: 789–798.
Panigrahi, G. 1986: Tectariaceae, fam. nov. to replace Aspidiaceae Mettenius ex Frank, nom. illeg. (Pteridophyta). Journal of the Orissa Botanical Society 8: 41–42.
Pichi Sermolli, R.E.G. 1977: Tentamen Pteridophytorum genera in taxonomicum ordinem redigendi. Webbia 31: 313–512.
PPG 1 2016: A community-derived classification for extant lycophytes. Journal of Systematics and Evolution 54(6): 563–603.
Schuettpelz, E.; Pryer, K.M. 2007: Fern phylogeny inferred from 400 leptosporangiate species and three plastid genes. Taxon 56: 1037–1050.
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.
Zhang, L.; Schuettpelz, E.; Rothfels, C.J.; Zhou, X.-M.; Gao, X.-F.; Zhang, L.-B. 2016: Circumscription and phylogeny of the fern family Tectariaceae based on plastid and nuclear markers, with the description of two new genera: Draconopteris and Malaifilix (Tectariaceae). Taxon 65: 723–738.