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FNA | Family List | FNA Vol. 2 | Dryopteridaceae

1. Matteuccia Todaro, Giorn. Sci. Nat. Econ. Palermo. 1: 235. 1866, name conserved Ostrich fern [for Car. 1800.

Ostrich fern [for Car 1863, physicist at the University of Florence, Italy]

David M. Johnson

Plants terrestrial. Stems obliquely ascending to erect, stolons present or absent, not wiry. Leaves strongly dimorphic, sterile leaves with longer and wider pinnae than fertile ones, sterile dying back in winter, fertile persistent, brownish, hardened. Petiole of sterile leaf ca. 1/10--1/5 length of blade, petiole of fertile leaf ± equaling length of blade, bases swollen, persisting as trophopods over winter; vascular bundles 2, lateral, lunate in cross section. Blade elliptic (sterile) or narrowly oblong to oblanceolate (fertile), pinnate-pinnatifid or sometimes pinnate with lacerate pinnae in fertile leaves, gradually to nearly abruptly reduced distally to pinnatifid apex, sterile blades herbaceous. Pinnae not articulate to rachis, segment margins entire (sterile); proximal pinnae (several pairs) greatly reduced, sessile, equilateral; costae shallowly grooved adaxially, grooves not continuous from rachis to costae; indument absent on both surfaces or deciduously hairy abaxially. Veins free, simple. Sori in 1 row between midrib and margin, ± round, covered by hardened revolute pinna margin; indusia vestigial, triangular, persistent but not easily seen in mature leaves. Spores greenish, with low folds and minute echinate-cristate elements. x = 40.

Species 3 (1 in the flora): north temperate regions.

Matteuccia is one of several genera known to store starch grains in long-persistent petiole bases (trophopods) (W. H. Wagner Jr. and D. M. Johnson 1983). Struthiopteris Willdenow is a later homonym of Struthiopteris Scopoli and hence illegitimate. Pteretis Rafinesque, even though it is the oldest legitimate name, has been rejected in favor of Matteuccia .


Fernald, M. L. 1935. Critical plants of the upper Great Lakes region of Ontario and Michigan. Rhodora 37: 197--222. Hill, R. W. and W. H. Wagner Jr. 1974. Seasonality and spore type of pteridophytes in Michigan. Michigan Bot. 13: 40--44. Lloyd, R. M. 1971. Systematics of the onocleoid ferns. Univ. Calif. Publ. Bot. 61: 1--86, 5 plates. Lloyd, R. M. and E. J. Klekowski Jr. 1970. Spore germination and viability in Pteridophyta: Evolutionary significance of chlorophyllous spores. Biotropica 2: 129--137. Von Aderkas, P. 1984. Economic history of ostrich fern, Matteuccia struthiopteris, the edible fiddlehead. Econ. Bot. 38: 14--23. Wagner, W. H. Jr. and D. M. Johnson. 1983. Trophopod, a commonly overlooked storage structure of potential systematic value in ferns. Taxon 32: 268--269.

Lower Taxa


Related Objects  

Photos by The Biodiversity of the Hengduan Mountains Project  
  • Image File (David Boufford)
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  • Image File (David Boufford)
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