Blechnum chilense, photographed by Franz Xaver.

Belongs within: Polypodiales.

The Blechnaceae include the hard ferns and chain ferns. The family is cosmopolitan, but most diverse in the southern temperate and tropical regions. In some species, reproductive and sterile fronds may be very different in appearance, and have sometimes been mistaken for fronds of separate species.

Characters (from Cranfill 1993): Plants perennial, mostly terrestrial, occasionally lithophytic or epiphytic. Stems creeping to suberect or ascending, sometimes climbing (rarely arborescent), slender to stout, dictyostelic, scaly. Leaves monomorphic or dimorphic, large and coarse, generally greater than 30 cm, often exceeding 1 m. Petiole not articulate, generally more than 2 vascular bundles arranged in arc, generally scaly at least at base. Blade often anthocyanic (reddish) when young, pinnatifid (rarely simple) to pinnate-pinnatifid or 2-pinnate (rarely decompound), glabrous or occasionally bearing scales or capitate glands. Rachis frequently grooved adaxially. Veins of sterile leaves generally free, rarely anastomosing, veins of fertile leaves united to form sorus-bearing secondary vein parallel to costa or costule (vascular commisure), sometimes anastomosing further. Sori elongate along secondary vein; indusia usually present, opening along costal side of fertile vein, frequently hidden by dehisced sporangia; sporangial stalk of 3 rows of cells. Spores monolete, reniform; perine present, variously ornamented. Gametophytes green, cordate, sometimes bearing capitate hairs, antheridia and archegonia borne on lower surface.

    |--Stenochlaena [Stenochlaenaceae]RS12
    |    `--S. palustris (Burm. f.) Under. 1906B06 (see below for synonymy)
    |--Woodwardia [incl. Anchistea, Lorinseria]RS12
    |    |--W. angustifoliaV97
    |    |--W. areolataSS04
    |    |--W. fimbriataSS04
    |    |--W. radicansBS-V28
    |    |--W. rhadamantiS89
    |    |--W. roessnerianaS89
    |    |--W. spinulosaL54
    |    |--W. unigemmata (Makino) Nakai 1925 (see below for synonymy)I88
    |    `--W. virginicaSS04 [=Blechnum virginicumV97]
    |--Doodia Br. 1810A61
    |    |--D. aspera Rich. 1832H90, A61 [=Woodwardia asperaB78]
    |    |--D. blechnoidesB78
    |    |--D. caudata (Cav.) Br. 1810A61 [=Woodwardia caudata Cav. 1801A61; incl. D. rupestrisB78, D. squarrosa Col. 1881A61]
    |    |    |--D. c. var. caudataH90
    |    |    `--D. c. var. laminosaH90
    |    |--D. maximaH90
    |    `--D. media Br. 1810A61 [=D. caudata var. mediaB78, Woodwardia mediaB78; incl. D. kunthiana Gaud. 1829A61]
    |         |  i. s.: D. m. var. milnei (Carr.) Baker 1873 (see below for synonymy)A61
    |         |--D. m. ssp. mediaH90
    |         `--D. m. ssp. australisH90
    `--Blechnum Linnaeus 1753A61 [incl. Blechnum subg. EublechnumW15, LomariaW15]
         |--B. ambiguumH90
         |--B. auratumRS12
         |--B. banksii (Hook. f.) Mett. ex Diels 1899 [=Lomaria banksii Hook. f. 1855]A61
         |--‘Lomaria’ blechnoides Bory de Saint-Vincent 1828BS-V28
         |--B. borealeBS-V28
         |--B. brasilienseBS-V28
         |--B. camfieldiiH90
         |--B. capense (Linnaeus) Schlect. 1825 (see below for synonymy)A61
         |    |--B. c. var. capenseW15
         |    `--B. c. var. gregsoni Watts 1915W15
         |--B. cartilagineum [incl. B. nitidum]B78
         |--B. chambersiiH90
         |--B. chilenseD03 [=Lomaria chiliensisBS-V28]
         |--B. dentatumSS04
         |--B. discolor (Forst. f.) Keys. 1873A61 (see below for synonymy)
         |--B. divergensJ87
         |--B. durum (Moore) Christen. 1905 [=Lomaria dura Moore 1866; incl. L. rigida Smith 1866]A61
         |--B. falciformeL54
         |--B. filiforme (Cunn.) Ettinghausen 1864A61 (see below for synonymy)
         |--B. findlaysonianumT-W89
         |--B. fluviatile (Br.) Salom. 1883A61 (see below for synonymy)
         |--B. fragileJ87
         |--B. fraseri (Cunn.) Luerss. 1876 [=Lomaria fraseri Cunn. 1837]A61
         |--‘Lomaria’ fullageri [incl. L. auriculata Baker 1874]B78
         |--B. gracileSS04 [=Lomaria procera var. gracilis Colenso 1893A61]
         |--B. indicumLK14
         |--B. laevigatumT86
         |--B. lanceolatum (Br.) Sturm 1858 (see below for synonymy)A61
         |--B. membranaceum (Colenso) Mett. 1861 (see below for synonymy)A61
         |--B. minus (Br.) Allan 1961A61 (see below for synonymy)
         |--B. nigrum (Col.) Mett. 1861A61 [=Lomaria nigra Col. 1846A61; incl. Polybotrya nanaC06]
         |--B. norfolkianum (Heward) Christen. 1905 (see below for synonymy)A61
         |--B. novae-zelandiaeNL98
         |--B. nudumH90
         |--B. occidentaleWP05
         |--B. orientale Linnaeus 1753I88
         |--B. paleaceaA27
         |--B. palmiformeRJ11
         |--B. patersonii (Br.) Mett. 1856A61 (see below for synonymy)
         |--B. penna-marina (Poir.) Kuhn 1868 (see below for synonymy)A61
         |--B. scandens Bory de Saint-Vincent 1828BS-V28
         |--B. schomburgkiiRS12
         |--B. serrulatum [incl. B. striatum]B78
         |--B. spicantKTS00 [=Osmunda spicantV97]
         |--B. tabulareM03 [incl. Lomaria magellanicaM03, B. magellanicumD03]
         |--B. tuerckheimiiJ87
         |--B. underwoodianumJ87
         |--B. unilateraleL54
         |--B. violaceumRS12
         |--B. vulcanicum (Blume) Kuhn 1869 (see below for synonymy)A61
         `--B. wattsiiH90
Nomen nudum: Blechnum molassicum Squinabol 1889S89
             Blechnum woodwardiaeforme Squinabol 1889S89
             Lomaria umbellata Trebeck 1886T86

Blechnum capense (Linnaeus) Schlect. 1825 [=Osmunda capensis Linnaeus 1771, Lomaria capensis (Linnaeus) Willd. 1810; incl. L. duplicata Potts 1877, L. procera var. flagelliformis Szyszyl. in Wawra & Günther 1888, L. latifolia Colenso 1846, Osmunda procera Forst. f. 1786, Blechnum procerum (Forst. f.) Swartz 1806, Lomaria procera Spreng. 1827, Onoclea procera (Forst. f.) Spreng. 1799, Stegania procera Br. 1810, S. procera var. stipulata Rich. 1832]A61

Blechnum discolor (Forst. f.) Keys. 1873A61 [=Osmunda discolor Forst. f. 1786A61, Lomaria discolor Willd. 1810A61, Onoclea discolor Swartz 1806A61, Stegania discolor Rich. 1832A61; incl. Lomaria falcataT86, S. falcataB78, Onoclea nudaB78, S. nudaB78]

Blechnum filiforme (Cunn.) Ettinghausen 1864A61 [=Lomaria filiformis Cunn. 1837A61; incl. Stenochlaena heteromorpha Smith 1845A61, Lomariopsis hugelii Presl 1849A61, Lomaria pimpinellifolia Hook. f. 1844A61, Lomaria propinqua Cunn. 1837A61, Blechnum reptansC06, Osmunda reptansC06]

Blechnum fluviatile (Br.) Salom. 1883A61 [=Stegania fluviatilis Br. 1810A61, Lomaria fluviatilis Spreng. 1827A61; incl. L. fluviatilis var. ramosaC06, L. rotundifolia Colenso 1842A61, L. rotundifolia Raoul 1844 non Colenso 1842A61]

Blechnum lanceolatum (Br.) Sturm 1858 [=Stegania lanceolata Br. 1810, Lomaria lanceolata Spreng. 1827; incl. L. aggregata Colenso 1888, L. alternans Colenso 1895, Blechnum alternans (Colenso) Christen. 1905]A61

Blechnum membranaceum (Colenso) Mett. 1861 [=Lomaria membranacea Colenso 1860; incl. L. intermedia Colenso 1887, L. oligoneuron Colenso 1884, L. pygmaea Colenso 1893]A61

Blechnum minus (Br.) Allan 1961A61 [=Stegania minor Br. 1810A61, B. capense var. minor (Br.) Cheesem. 1925A61, Lomaria capensis var. minorC06, L. minor (Br.) Spreng. 1827A61, L. procera var. minor Hook. f. 1855A61]

Blechnum norfolkianum (Heward) Christen. 1905 [=Lomaria norfolkiana Heward 1842; incl. L. acuminata Hook. & Baker 1873, L. attenuata Hook. f. 1864 (preoc.)]A61

Blechnum patersonii (Br.) Mett. 1856A61 [=Stegania patersoni Br. 1810A61, Lomaria patersoni Spreng. 1827A61; incl. L. colensoi Hooker 1844A61, Blechnum colensoi (Hooker) Wakefield 1956A61, L. elongata Blume 1828A61, B. patersoni var. elongatum Hooker & Bak. 1873C49, L. patersoni var. elongata Hook. & Baker 1873A61, L. heterophylla Col. 1846A61]

Blechnum penna-marina (Poir.) Kuhn 1868 [=Polypodium penna-marina Poir. in Lam. 1804, Lomaria penna-marina Trev. 1869, Struthiopteris penna-marina (Poir.) Mason & Morton 1939; incl. Stegania alpina Br. 1810, Lomaria alpina Spreng. 1827, Blechnum alpinum Mett. 1856, L. distans Colenso 1896, B. hillii Christen. 1906, L. linearis Colenso 1846, L. parvifolia Colenso 1888, L. pumila Raoul 1844]A61

Blechnum vulcanicum (Blume) Kuhn 1869 [=Lomaria vulcanica Blume 1828; incl. L. deflexa Colenso 1844, L. deltoides Colenso 1842, L. paucijuga Colenso 1888]A61

Doodia media var. milnei (Carr.) Baker 1873 [=D. milnei Carr. in Seem. 1873; incl. D. connexa Hook. f. 1864 (preoc.)]A61

Stenochlaena palustris (Burm. f.) Under. 1906B06 [=Polypodium palustre Burm. f. 1768B06, Acrostichum palustreT-W89; incl. Stenochlaena scandens (Sw.) Smith 1841B06]

Woodwardia unigemmata (Makino) Nakai 1925 [=W. radicans var. unigemmata Makino 1918; incl. W. himalaica Ching & Wu in Wu 1983]I88

*Type species of generic name indicated


[A61] Allan, H. H. 1961. Flora of New Zealand vol. 1. Indigenous Tracheophyta: Psilopsida, Lycopsida, Filicopsida, Gymnospermae, Dicotyledones. R. E. Owen, Government Printer: Wellington (New Zealand).

[A27] Andersen, J. C. 1927. Popular names of New Zealand plants. Part 2. Transactions and Proceedings of the New Zealand Institute 57: 905–977.

[B78] Bentham, G. 1878. Flora Australiensis: A description of the plants of the Australian Territory vol. 7. Roxburghiaceae to Filices. L. Reeve & Co.: London.

[BS-V28] Bory de Saint-Vincent, J. B. 1828. Voyage Autour du Monde, Exécuté par Ordre du Roi, Sur la Corvette de Sa Majesté, La Coquille, pendant les années 1822, 1823, 1824 et 1825. Botanique. Cryptogamie. Arthus Bertrand: Paris.

[C06] Cheeseman, T. F. 1906. Manual of the New Zealand Flora. John Mackay, Government Printer: Wellington.

Cranfill, R. B. 1993. Blechnaceae C. Presl. In: Flora of North America vol. 1 pp. 223–227. Oxford University Press.

[C49] Crookes, M. W. 1949. A revised and annotated list of New Zealand Filicinae. Transactions and Proceedings of the Royal Society of New Zealand 77 (2): 209–225.

[D03] Dusén, P. 1903. The vegetation of western Patagonia. In: Scott, W. B. (ed.) Reports of the Princeton University Expeditions to Patagonia, 18961899 vol. 8. Botany pp. 1–34. The University: Princeton (New Jersey).

[H90] Harden, G. J. (ed.) 1990. Flora of New South Wales vol. 1. New South Wales University Press.

[I88] Iwatsuki, K. 1988. An enumeration of the pteridophytes of Nepal. In: Ohba, H., & S. B. Malla (eds) The Himalayan Plants vol. 1. The University Museum, University of Tokyo, Bulletin 31: 231–339.

[J87] Judd, W. S. 1987. Floristic study of Morne La Visite and Pic Macaya National Parks, Haiti. Bulletin of the Florida State MuseumBiological Sciences 32 (1): 1–136.

[KTS00] Keary, I. P., C. Thomas & E. Sheffield. 2000. The effects of the herbicide asulam on the gametophytes of Pteridium aquilinum, Cryptogramma crispa and Dryopteris filix-mas. Annals of Botany 85 (Suppl. B): 47–51.

[L54] Lötschert, W. 1954. Beitrag zur Pteridophyten-Flora von Mittel-Amerika. Senckenbergiana Biologica 35 (1–2): 109–119.

[LK14] Lyons, M. N., G. J. Keighery, L. A. Gibson & T. Handasyde. 2014. Flora and vegetation communities of selected islands off the Kimberley coast of Western Australia. Records of the Western Australian Museum Supplement 81: 205–244.

[M03] Macloskie, G. 1903. Pteridophyta, ferns and fernlike plants. In: Scott, W. B. (ed.) Reports of the Princeton University Expeditions to Patagonia, 18961899 vol. 8. Botany pp. 127–138. The University: Princeton (New Jersey).

[NL98] Norton, D. A., & P. J. de Lange. 1998. Hebe paludosa (Scrophulariaceae)—a new combination for an endemic wetland Hebe from Westland, South Island, New Zealand. New Zealand Journal of Botany 36: 531–538.

[RJ11] Rising, J. D., A. Jaramillo, J. L. Copete, P. G. Ryan & S. C. Madge. 2011. Family Emberizidae (buntings and New World sparrows). In: Hoyo, J. del, A. Elliott & D. A. Christie (eds) Handbook of the Birds of the World vol. 16. Tanagers to New World Blackbirds pp. 428–683. Lynx Edicions: Barcelona.

[RS12] Rothfels, C. J., M. A. Sundue, L.-Y. Kuo, A. Larsson, M. Kato, E. Schuettpelz & K. M. Pryer. 2012. A revised family-level classification for eupolypod II ferns (Polypodiidae: Polypodiales). Taxon 61 (3): 515–533.

[SS04] Schneider, H., E. Schuettpelz, K. M. Pryer, R. Cranfill, S. Magallón & R. Lupia. 2004. Ferns diversified in the shadow of angiosperms. Nature 428: 553–557.

[S89] Squinabol, S. 1889. Res Ligusticae. VII.—Cenno preliminare sulla flora fossile di Santa Giustina. Annali del Museo Civico di Storia Naturale di Genova, Serie 2a, 7: 73–76.

[T-W89] Tenison-Woods, J. E. 1889. On the vegetation of Malaysia. Proceedings of the Linnean Society of New South Wales, series 2, 4 (1): 9–106, pls 1–9.

[T86] Trebeck, P. N. 1886. Mount Wilson and its ferns. Proceedings of the Linnean Society of New South Wales, series 2, 1 (2): 491–496.

[V97] Ventenat, C. 1797. Extrait d’un mémoire sur les fougeres, de M. Smith. Bulletin des Sciences, par la Societé Philomathique de Paris 1 (9): 71–72.

[W15] Watts, W. W. 1915. Some notes on Blechnum capense, (L.) Schlecht. (with description of var. gregsoni, var. nov.). Journal and Proceedings of the Royal Society of New South Wales 49 (1): 122–126.

[WP05] Wikström, N., & K. M. Pryer. 2005. Incongruence between primary sequence data and the distribution of a mitochondrial atp1 group II intron among ferns and horsetails. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 36: 484–493.

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