Fern ally

Fern ally is a general term covering a somewhat diverse group of vascular plants that are not flowering plants and not true ferns. Like ferns, these plants reproduce by shedding spores to initiate an alternation of generations. There are four main groups of plants considered to be fern allies. In various classification schemes, these may be grouped as classes or divisions within the plant kingdom. The more traditional classification scheme is as follows:

  • Kingdom: Plantae
    • Division Tracheophyta (vascular plants)
      • Class Lycopsida, (fern-allies) the clubmosses and related plants
      • Class Sphenopsida (Equisetopsida), (fern-allies) the horsetails and scouring-rushes
      • Class Psilopsida, (fern-allies) the whiskbrooms
      • Class Filices, the true ferns
      • Seed plants (Class Spermatopsida or sometimes as several different classes)

A newer classification scheme is:

  • Kingdom Plantae
    • Division Lycophyta, fern-allies
    • Division Archeophyta, fern-allies
      • Class Sphenopsida, the horsetails and scouring-rushes
      • Class Psilopsida, the whiskbrooms
      • Class Ophioglossopsida, the adders-tongues and grape-ferns
    • Division Pteridophyta, the ferns
    • Seed plants (Division Spermatophyta or several different divisions)

Many botanists may regard the three classes of the Archeophyta as divisions in and of themselves. The ophioglossoids (Ophioglossopsida) were once thought to be ferns, but are now known to be distinct due to genetic studies.

See also

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