Subordinate Taxa
Scientific Name:
Thelypteris Schmidel, Icon. Pl., ed. Keller 3, 45, t. 11, 13 (1763), nom. cons.
Type Taxon:
Thelypteris palustris Schott
From the Greek thelys (female), and pteris (a fern), a name used by Theophrastus.

Terrestrial ferns. Rhizomes short- to long-creeping, scaly. Rhizome scales ovate, entire. Fronds monomorphic or slightly dimorphic. Stipes scaly. Laminae 1-pinnate-pinnatifid, herbaceous to coriaceous, the proximal pinnae not or little reduced in size; basal pinnae not conspicuously auricled acroscopically; aerophores absent; abaxial surface of laminae bearing flat thin scales, erect acicular hairs and short-stalked glands, but lacking sessile spherical glands. Veins free, sometimes forked in the pinnules and reaching the margins. Sori round, indusiate; paraphyses absent. Indusia reniform, bearing short-stalked glands. Sporangia bearing short-stalked glands near annulus, but lacking hairs on the stalk. Spores monolete, irregularly and minutely spinulose.


Allan (1961) included all indigenous New Zealand species of Thelypteridaceae within a broadly construed Thelypteris. Holttum (1971) redefined the genus globally to include just two species characterised by a long-creeping rhizome, unreduced basal pinnae, free veins that are often forked in the pinnules and reach the margins, scales on the lower surface of the costae, acicular hairs and short-stalked glands on the lower surface of the lamina, no sessile glands, indusiate sori, and sporangia that bear short-stalked glands. Holttum’s concept remained unchanged following the classification of Fawcett & Smith (2021).


A genus of two species with one in temperate Europe and Asia and the other in tropical and subtropical regions of the southern hemisphere in South America, Africa, India, Malesia and Australasia (Fawcett & Smith 2021). One species in New Zealand; none endemic.

Indigenous (Non-endemic)
Number of species in New Zealand within Thelypteris Schmidel
Indigenous (Non-endemic)1

The base chromosome number in Thelypteris is x = 35 (Holttum 1971; Smith 1990; Fawcett & Smith 2021).

Bostock, P.D. 1998: Thelypteridaceae. In: Flora of Australia. Vol. 48. 327–358.
Brownsey, P.J.; Perrie, L.R. 2022: Thelypteridaceae. Edition 2. In: Glenny, D. (ed.) Flora of New Zealand - Ferns and Lycophytes. Fascicle 16. Manaaki Whenua Press, Lincoln.
Brownsey, P.J.; Smith-Dodsworth, J.C. 2000: New Zealand ferns and allied plants. Edition 2. David Bateman, Auckland.
Fawcett, S.; Smith, A.R. 2021: A generic classification of the Thelypteridaceae. Sida, Botanical Miscellany 59. BRIT Press, Fort Worth Botanic Garden/Botanical Research Institute of Texas, USA.
Holttum, R.E. 1971: Studies in the family Thelypteridaceae III: a new system of genera in the Old World. Blumea 19: 17–52.
Holttum, R.E. 1977: The family Thelypteridaceae in the Pacific and Australasia. Allertonia 1: 169–234.
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.
Schmidel, C.C. 1763-1771: Icones Plantarum. ed. Keller. Fleischmann, Nürnberg.
Smith, A.R. 1990: Thelypteridaceae. 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. 263–272.
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.