Ferns, advances, fuses and horsetail These are some of the best known examples of pateridophyte plants. The word pteridophyte comes from the Greek pteridonwhich means 'fetus'; more phyton, 'plant'. Notice how budding leaves have a shape that resembles the position of a human fetus in the womb.

Prior to the invention of steel sponges and other products, pteridophytes such as the "horsetail", which looks like a horse's tail and have very rough leaves, were widely used as a cleaning tool. In Brazil, the sprouts of the fern-eagles or fern-eagle, known as food in the form of stews.

Horsetail, pteridophyte of the genus Equisetum.

Currently, the importance of pteridophytes for human interest is mainly restricted to their ornamental value. It is common for houses and gardens to be embellished with ferns and fences, among other examples.

Throughout the evolutionary history of the earth, Pteridophytes were the first vegetables to have a nutrient-carrying vessel system. This allowed a faster transport of water through the plant body and favored the emergence of large plants. In addition, conductive vessels represent one of the acquisitions that contributed to the adaptation of these plants to terrestrial environments.

The body of the pteridophytes has root, stem and leaf. The stem of the current pteridophytes is generally underground, with horizontal development. But in some pteridophytes, such as the xaxins, the stem is aerial. In general, each leaf of these plants is divided into many smaller parts called leaflets.

Most pteridophytes are terrestrial and, like bryophytes, preferentially live in humid and shady places.


Popular Pteridophytes

Horsetail: Small in size, underground and forming upright branches that vaguely resemble a cane stem about 1 cm in diameter. Wire-shaped leaves, grouped in bundles, emerge from the stem and resemble a horse's tail (see photo above).

Selaginela: mistakenly sold as moss in flower shops. Fine leaves that come out of the very thin cylindrical stem.

Lycopodium: underground stem that gives upright aerial branches from which leaves much smaller than those of the selaginella. Rose bouquets are commonly accompanied by branches of lycopods.



Ferns: The most modern pteridophytes are popularly known as ferns and belong to the class of phyllidines. These include Portuguese lace, tresses, xaxins, ferns, etc. In most of them, the underground stem, called rhizome, forms aerial leaves. In the fern the stem is aerial and stereo and can reach about 2 to 3 meters. The leaves are often long, have divisions (leaflets) and grow in length at the ends, which are curled, remembering the position of the fetus inside the uterus. At the time of reproduction, the leaflets become fertile and in them dark spots appear, the sera, true reproduction units.

Serum on Fern Leaves