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Pteridophytes Phylogeny Group

The Pteridophyte Phylogeny Group (PPG) aims to produce, and continually update, a community-derived classification for lycophytes and ferns - based on our understanding of phylogeny - at the family and genus levels.


To some extent, phylogeny has always informed the classification of pteridophytes. Today, as our ability to infer evolutionary trees continues to improve, our classifications aimed at recognizing natural groups are becoming increasingly predictive and stable.

The ordinal and familial classification of ferns by Smith et al. (2006), founded on the principle of monophyly, but also recognizing the desire to maintain established names, has generally been well received by the pteridological community. However, many important advances have since been made in our understanding of relationships. These changes, of course, are not accounted for in the Smith et al. (2006) classification. Furthermore, although this work provided a list of genera included in each family, it did not explicitly address generic classification.

We now feel the time is right to update the classification of ferns and lycophytes, following the main tenets of the Smith et al. work, but utilizing a community-based approach. We have therefore established the Pteridophyte Phylogeny Group (PPG), following loosely the model established by those working on flowering plants.

Click here to download a document that describes the objectives and other aspects of the PPG.


We welcome your feedback. If you would like to be a clade coordinator or contributor, please let us know via email (see Contact page), specifying your desired role(s) and preferred clade(s). We look forward to working with you!


Coming soon.


Coming soon.


For more information, please contact the project coordinators:

Harald Schneider
Plants Division
Life Sciences Department
Natural History Museum
London UK

Eric Schuettpelz
Department of Botany
National Museum of Natural History
Smithsonian Institution
Washington DC

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