A community-derived classification for extant lycophytes and ferns

Eric Schuettpelz, Harald Schneider, Alan R. Smith, Peter Hovenkamp, Jefferson Prado, Germinal Rouhan, Alexandre Salino, Michael Sundue, Thaís Elias Almeida, Barbara Parris, Emily B. Sessa, Ashley R. Field, André Luís de Gasper, Carl J. Rothfels, Michael D. Windham, Marcus Lehnert, Benjamin Dauphin, Atsushi Ebihara, Samuli Lehtonen, Pedro Bond SchwartsburdJordan Metzgar, Li Bing Zhang, Li Yaung Kuo, Patrick J. Brownsey, Masahiro Kato, Marcelo Daniel Arana, Francine C. Assis, Michael S. Barker, David S. Barrington, Ho Ming Chang, Yi Han Chang, Yi Shan Chao, Cheng Wei Chen, De Kui Chen, Wen Liang Chiou, Vinícius Antonio de Oliveira Dittrich, Yi Fan Duan, Jean Yves Dubuisson, Donald R. Farrar, Susan Fawcett, Jose María Gabriel y Galán, Luiz Armando de Araújo Góes-Neto, Jason R. Grant, Amanda L. Grusz, Christopher Haufler, Warren Hauk, Hai He, Sabine Hennequin, Regina Yoshie Hirai, Layne Huiet, The Pteridophyte Phylogeny Group

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1081 Scopus citations


Phylogeny has long informed pteridophyte classification. As our ability to infer evolutionary trees has improved, classifications aimed at recognizing natural groups have become increasingly predictive and stable. Here, we provide a modern, comprehensive classification for lycophytes and ferns, down to the genus level, utilizing a community-based approach. We use monophyly as the primary criterion for the recognition of taxa, but also aim to preserve existing taxa and circumscriptions that are both widely accepted and consistent with our understanding of pteridophyte phylogeny. In total, this classification treats an estimated 11 916 species in 337 genera, 51 families, 14 orders, and two classes. This classification is not intended as the final word on lycophyte and fern taxonomy, but rather a summary statement of current hypotheses, derived from the best available data and shaped by those most familiar with the plants in question. We hope that it will serve as a resource for those wanting references to the recent literature on pteridophyte phylogeny and classification, a framework for guiding future investigations, and a stimulus to further discourse.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)563-603
Number of pages41
JournalJournal of Systematics and Evolution
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 1 2016

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 Institute of Botany, Chinese Academy of Sciences


  • classification
  • ferns
  • lycophytes
  • monophyly
  • phylogeny
  • pteridophytes


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