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Ferns and Horsetails (Monilophytes)
Clubmosses and Quillworts (Lycophytes)
Terrestrial, clump-forming; rhizome scales rather large and soft, not clathrate; rhachis grooved; leaves in tufts, 1-3 pinnate; sori usually single, of various shapes - j-shaped, linear to round; indusium usually present; stipe contains two concave vascular bundles united at one end to form a U-shape, unlike Asplenium where they form an X-shape.

Around 180 species worldwide. Two species in Britain, one in Ireland. Several other species are grown, of which Japanese Painted Fern, Athyrium niponicum var. pictum is probably the best known.

Athyrium distentifolium var.flexile has been variously treated as a full species, subspecies or variety. Following the work of R.McHaffie it appears now to be best treated as a variety of Athyrium distentifolium, but as a very distinct one. For that reason I have treated it separately here.
Athyrium distentifolium Alpine Lady Fern Athyrium distentifolium thumbnail, link to A. distentifolium page
Athyrium distentifolium var. flexile Flexile Lady Fern Athyrium distentifolium var. flexile thumbnail, link to A. distentifolium var. flexile page
Athyrium filix-femina Lady Fern Athyrium filix-femina thumbnail, link to A. filix-femina page
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