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Maarten Christenhusz taxon links [up-->]Marattia alata [down<--]Marattiaceae Interpreting the tree
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Containing group: Marattiaceae


Marattia is a mostly neotropical genus of eight species, but one species (M. douglassii) occurs on Hawaii. They usually occur in mountainous areas above 900 m elevations, but they may occur at lower elevation on islands.

Murdock (2008) showed that Marattia in its traditional sense is widely polyphyletic. The name can only be kept in its traditional sense if all Angiopteris and Christensenia would be merged into Marattia, leaving the family with just 2 genera (Marattia and Danaea). This scenario is very unwarranted, because Angiopteris is a morphologically well-established genus and differs from Marattia in many obvious characters. To retain Angiopteris and Christensenia, Marattia was therefore segregated into three genera Eupodium, Ptisana and Marattia. The true Marattia occur in the Neotropics and Hawaii, Eupodium is only Neotropical and all the old world species are transferred into the new genus Ptisana.


Marattia is recognized by sessile, bivalved synangia. The fronds are usually twice or more pinnate, and usually triangular in shape. The ultimate pinnules are generally alternately arranged, but the pinnae are often opposed, especially in 3-pinnate species with deltate blades. Their rhizomes are radially arranged and usually globular, with the stipules opened.


Christenhusz, M. J. M. (2007). Evolutionary History and Taxnomy of Neotropical Marattioid Ferns: Studies of an ancient lineage of plants. Annales Universitatis Turkuensis ser. AII, tom. 216, pp. 1-134.

Lavalle, M. C. (2003). Taxonomía de las especies neotropicales de Marattia (Marattiaceae). Darwiniana 41, pp. 61-86.

Murdock, A. (2008). A taxonomic revision of the eusporangiate fern family Marattiaceae, with description of a new genus Ptisana. Taxon 57, 737-755.

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About This Page

Maarten Christenhusz
The Natural History Museum, London, United Kingdom

Correspondence regarding this page should be directed to Maarten Christenhusz at

Page: Tree of Life Marattia. Authored by Maarten Christenhusz. The TEXT of this page is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial License - Version 3.0. Note that images and other media featured on this page are each governed by their own license, and they may or may not be available for reuse. Click on an image or a media link to access the media data window, which provides the relevant licensing information. For the general terms and conditions of ToL material reuse and redistribution, please see the Tree of Life Copyright Policies.

Citing this page:

Christenhusz, Maarten. 2009. Marattia. Version 23 January 2009 (under construction). http://tolweb.org/Marattia/134240/2009.01.23 in The Tree of Life Web Project, http://tolweb.org/

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