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


Allan (1961) included all 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 and capitate hairs on the lower surface of the lamina, no sessile glands, indusiate sori, and sporangia that bear capitate hairs. Smith et al. (2006) had a much broader interpretation of Thelypteris, including also Amauropelta, Coryphopteris, Lastrea, Metathelypteris and Parathelypteris, but Holttum’s classification is followed here for consistency (see Taxonomy under Thelypteridaceae).


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 (Holttum 1977; Smith 1990). 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).

Bostock, P.D. 1998: Thelypteridaceae. In: Flora of Australia. Vol. 48. 327–358.
Brownsey, P.J.; Smith-Dodsworth, J.C. 2000: New Zealand ferns and allied plants. Edition 2. David Bateman, Auckland.
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.