Pteridophytes: Ferns

Pteridophytes: Ferns

Pteridophytes are vascular plants (plants with xylem and phloem) that reproduce and disperse via spores. Because they produce neither flowers nor seeds, they are referred to as cryptogams. The group includes ferns, horsetails, clubmosses, spikemosses and quillworts. These plants mostly known for their ornamental values. But there are many of pteridophytes that are edible.

Few common edible ferns are listed below:

  • Sword fern, Polystichum munitum, “king of northwest ferns.”
  • Bracken, Pteridium aquilinum, found worldwide (Health Warning)
  • Ostrich fern, Matteuccia struthiopteris, found in northern regions worldwide, and the central/eastern part of North America (Health Warning)
  • Lady fern, Athyrium filix-femina, throughout most of the temperate northern hemisphere.
  • Cinnamon fern or buckhorn fern, Osmunda cinnamomea, found in the eastern parts of North America, although not so palatable as ostrich fern.
  • Royal fern, Osmunda regalis, found worldwide
  • Midin, or Stenochlaena palustris, found in Sarawak, where it is prized as a local delicacy
  • Zenmai or flowering fern, Osmunda japonica, found in East Asia
  • Vegetable fern, Athyrium esculentum, found throughout Asia and Oceania
  • Marsilea quadrifolia- In Asian countries leaves are used as vegetables

Image: Longwood garden,,, Flora of India,

Author: Sumana Rao | Posted on: August 19, 2015

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