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Moderate to large terrestrial ferns, rhizome very fleshy and succulent, erect, massive-globose, bearing deciduous, flat, non-peltate scales, radial, vascular bundles in a complex polycyclic dictyostele. Fronds long-stipitate, the stipes fleshy and succulent, with an enlarged base subtended by 2 large stipules that remain on the rhizome after the frond has fallen, vascular bundles numerous in several concentric rings, lamina bipinnate or tripinnate, thick and fleshy, the pinnae swollen at the base, pinnules free and swollen at the base, stalked, costate, veins free to the margin, simple, recurrent false veins absent. Sporangia large, thick-walled, fused in a double row into an oblong 16-24 celled bivalved synangium, each sporangium dehiscing by a longitudinal slit towards the centre of the longitudinally dehiscing synangium, the synangia elongate along the veins in a single intramarginal row, exindusiate, pluricellular uniseriate paraphyses usually present around the synangium; spores monolete, minutely pustular.


Considered here in the narrow sense, a mainly tropical and subtropical family of 2 genera with c. 60 species. In Papuasia Marattia is the only genus with c. 24 species.


Johns, R.J. 1981. The ferns and fern allies of Papua New Guinea. Part seven: the Marattiaceae in part. P.N.G. Univ. Tech. Res. Rep. R 48-81: 7.1 - 7.16.


A single genus in Papuasia ... Marattia (c. 24)


Some authors include Christensenia (Christenseniaceae) and Angiopteris (Angiopteridaceae) in this family. There is little doubt that these families are closely related.

Updated November 1999 by Jim Croft (