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Terrestrial ferns of moderate size, rhizome creeping, solenostelic, or more often compact and dictyostelic, densely clothed in entire, basally attached, +/- clathrate scales. Fronds long stipitate, the stipe with a single "U"-shaped vascular strand, the lamina bipinnate-pinnatifid to 4-pinnate-pinnatifid, herbaceous to subcoriaceous, all axes grooved with the grooves open to admit those of higher orders; veins simple or forked, free except in the sori; fronds +/- uniforn to dimorphic, the fertile fronds or portions with less finely divided segments, the pinnules broader, entire, or narrower and longer. Sporangia in a continuous submarginal coenosorus on a vascular commisure connecting the vein endings, protected by a broad, reflexed, scariose, marginal or submarginal indusium (or pseudoindusium), the fertile pinnules narrowed so that the indusia meet over the costa, paraphyses absent, annulus longitudinal, interrupted; spores trilete, hyaline and with a thick, ribbed or tuberculate perispore.


A family of 3 genera with perhaps 10 species, predominantly northern hemisphere in both the old and new world. Onychium silicuosum is the sole species in Papuasia.


Ching, R.C. 1934. On the genus Onyhium Kaulf. from the far Orient. Lignam Sci. J. 13: 493 - 501.

Copeland, E.B. 1949. Pteridaceae of New Guinea. Philip. J. Sci. 78: 5 - 40.


A single genus in Papuasia ... Onychium (1)


This family is often included with the Hemionitidaceae, Parkeriaceae and Sinopteridaceae in an enlarged family Adiantaceae, or with Pteris and related genera in a gross Pteridaceae. This is a very diverse assemblage; in this treatment a narrow family concept is used.

Updated November 1999 by Jim Croft (