Description: Terrestrial or epiphytic plants, arising from an erect or short-creeping rhizome.
Fronds one or more per plant, erect or pendent, the common basal stalk relatively short; sterile lamina simple, undivided or irregularly forked towards the apex, veins reticulate.
Fertile part ('spike') simple, solitary and borne on a short to long stalk; sporangia large, in two rows, embedded in the axis, coalescent, dehiscing horizontally.
Distribution and occurrence: World: c. 30 species, widespread. Australia: c. 7 species, all States.
Text by Peter G. Wilson
| ||Key to the species|| |
|1||Fronds with demarcation between the sterile lamina and the common stalk clear-cut; sterile lamina not, or barely, fused to the fertile stalk; terrestrial plants (subgenus Ophioglossum)||2|
|Fronds with demarcation between the sterile lamina and the common stalk not clear, lamina grading into the common stalk; sterile lamina conspicuously fused to the fertile stalk (subgenus Ophioderma)||Ophioglossum pendulum|
|2||Stipe bases persistent and forming a brown, papery sheath||Ophioglossum polyphyllum|
|Stipe bases not persistent and sheathing; rhizome short, roots few, fleshy|
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|3||Sterile lamina membranous; primary reticulations readily visible, veins within the primary reticulations less conspicuous||Ophioglossum reticulatum|
|Sterile lamina fleshy, veins somewhat indistinct; veins within the primary reticulations equally conspicuous|
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