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America present, Asia present, Asia-Tropical, tropical areas present, worldwide present
Polypodiaceae are distributed worldwide, with the greatest diversity in tropical areas, especially in Asia. Most American species belong to the tribe Polypodieae, which is poorly represented in other areas. Very few genera bridge the gap between Old World and New World. Of the Malesian genera, only Platycerium is represented by one species in tropical South America.




The family Polypodiaceae is here taken in an even more restricted sense than in Hennipman et al. (1990), i.e., excluding Loxogrammaceae. Considering that the differences between Loxogrammaceae and Polypodiaceae are of approximately the same magnitude as those between Grammitidaceae and Polypodiaceae, this seems to be the best solution, reflecting the uncertain affinities between these three families.

The generic delimitations here follow those in Hennipman et al. (1990), except for the genera Colysis (here included in Leptochilus), Phymatosorus and Neocheiropteris (here included in Microsorum), Goniophlebium (here treated as a separate genus), and the recently separated Paraselliguea (Hovenkamp 1997).

Hennipman et al (l.c.) also give details on morphology and anatomy. More details can be found in the various revisions and character analyses that have been used as a basis for this treatment (Sen & Hennipman 1981; Hennipman & Roos 1982; Hetterscheid & Hennipman 1985; Roos 1985; Van Uffelen & Hennipman 1985; Hovenkamp 1986; Ravensberg & Hennipman 1986; Baayen & Hennipman 1987a, b; Hennipman & Verduyn 1987; Hovenkamp 1990; Van Uffelen 1990, 1992, 1993; Rödl-Linder 1990, 1994a, b; Bosman 1991; Hovenkamp & Franken 1993; Hennipman in Gay et al. 1994; Nooteboom 1997; Hovenkamp 1997; 1998a, b).

From a diagnostic point of view the following characters are important:


Copel. 1960: Fern Fl. Philipp. p 453
Ching 1940 – In: Sunyatsenia. p 257
Hennipman et al. 1990 – In: Kramer & Green, Fam. & Genera Vasc. Pl. 1. p 203
Copel. 1947: Gen. Fil. p 174
Holttum 1955 – In: Revis. Fl. Malaya. p 129