Description: The Psilopsida are small, epiphytic or terrestrial, vascular plants which lack flowers and reproduce sexually by spores. The herbaceous sporophyte consists of a creeping rhizome (that lacks true roots) and an aerial stem which is undivided or dichotomously branched and has simple scale-like or leaf-like appendages (called 'leaves').
Reproduction is by spores that are uniform in size, and are borne in sporangia which are fused into capsule-like synangia. The spores germinate into small inconspicuous gametophytes (prothalli) which produce the sex cells, and after fusion of these cells the independent sporophyte develops.
Distribution and occurrence: World: 1 family, 2 genera, 17 species, pantropical to southern temperate regions. Australia: 1 family, 2 genera, 8 species, all States except S.A.
Text by Peter G. Wilson
|One family in NSW: PSILOTACEAE|