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Erect terrestrial ferns of moderate to large size or pendulous, straggling ferns on cliffs, rhizome moderate to long-creeping with spaced fronds, densely clothed with brownish multiseptate hairs, solenostelic, polycyclic with 2 concentric cylinders of vascular tissue, with or without central bundle. Fronds long-stipitate, the stipe not articulate to the rhizome, with a single U- or V-shaped vascular bundle, the lamina +/- flabellate, the branches close and pedate, deeply pinnatifid, or, sympodial, the rachis and stipe long, the suppressed lateral branches pseudodichotomous at the very base with a dormant medial bud, the bud often developing into a secondary sympodial rachis, the segments leafy throughout, linear, or dichotomous, or +/- sympodial; the lobes entire, costate, glabrous, the veins simple or 1 - 3 times forked, free to the margin or infrequently anastomosing. Sporangia few, in discrete round sori in a single medial row either side of the costae, on the acroscopic branch of a vein-group, at the ends of simple veins, or, at the union of numerous veins, completely covered by a peltate deciduous indusium, paraphyses lacking, pedicel very short, thick, annulus oblique, incomplete, often crooked, without a definite stomium. Spores trilete, tetrahedral, translucent, smooth or very finely verrucose.


A family of 2 genera, each probably monotypic, confined to Malesia. Both genera are rare in Papuasia, represented by a single species.


Johns, R.J. & Bellamy, A. 1979. The ferns and fern allies of Papua New Guinea. Part three: the Matoniaceae. Pp. 17.1 - 17.7. (published by the P.N.G. Office of Forests).

Genera in Papuasia

1 Fronds erect, compact, branching pedate-dichotomous; no dormant proliferous buds...

Matonia (1)

Fronds drooping and elongate, branching pinnate; dormant or proliferating buds at the apices of some branches... Phanerosorus (1)


Matonia can look superficially to similar to some Sticherus in the Gleicheniaceae.

Updated November 1999 by Jim Croft (