The spores are generally borne singly in the axils of specialized leaves (sporophylls) and these are often aggregated into cone-like strobili. The spores and sporangia are either all of one kind or of two different kinds. The thick-walled spores germinate into very small monoecious prothalli (gametophyte stage) that are mostly saprophytic. The sex cells which are produced on the prothalli develop into the independent sporophyte after fertilization.
| ||Key to the class LYCOPSIDA|| |
|1||Sporangia solitary in the axils of sporophylls, usually aggregated into cone-like structures||2|
|Sporangia in pockets in the expanded bases of fleshy grass-like leaves||ISOETACEAE|
|2||Minute ligule absent; sporangia of only one kind||LYCOPODIACEAE|
|Minute ligule present at the base of each leaf and sporophyll; sporangia of 2 kinds, producing spores of different sizes|
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