Pteridophytes of Wisconsin: Ferns and Fern Allies

This web site is provided for those interested in learning to identify the ferns and fern allies or "pteridophytes"of Wisconsin. The goal here is to provide a key to all the native plants within this group in Wisconsin, with photos and descriptions to help with their identification and a little more information concerning habitats occupied and their distribution in the state. The Wisconsin fern allies have historically included horsetails, club mosses, spikemosses, and quillworts (in the larger world view the "whisk ferns" or Psilophyta would also be included).

Some readers will know that the term "pteridophytes" is no longer an acceptable term. However, it has long been used to group these plants and I suspect it is more readily understood by non-professional botanists. It is not the purpose of this site to educate readers on the larger relationships of plants and I trust I will do no damage to professional botanists by this indiscretion. Textbooks, journals and the web provide abundant reference to more comprehensive discussion of the larger current view of plant relationships.

For the beginning student of the pteridophytes it may be best to begin at the introduction to the basic anatomy of pteridophytes and the terminology commonly used in referring to them. The reader may then go to the key to pteridophytes to identify an unknown plant, or go directly to a list of Wisconsin's pteridophytes with links to pages for the individual species. Each species has a page containing photos of important features and some basic information regarding habitat and distribution. A separate glossary of pteridophyte terms is also provided. Feedback on omissions, typos, and the usefulness of the site are appreciated.

Introduction to Ferns and Fern Allies

Key to Ferns and Fern Allies of Wisconsin

List of Pteridophytes of Wisconsin
with links to species pages

Glossary of Fern Terminology


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