Phylum Pteridophyta (classification modified)

Curtis Clark jcclark-lists at EARTHLINK.NET
Sun Mar 13 13:44:43 CST 2005

on 2005-03-13 10:56 Ken Kinman wrote:
> There is absolutely no excuse whatsoever for applying the name
> Pteridophyta to the fern clade.  That clade has plenty of other names
> as it is (Filicophyta, Pterophyta, Polypodiophyta, plus the class
> equivalents with -opsida endings).

This is just stupid. Pteridophyta and Pterophyta are the same word,
based on a disagreement on whether the genitive of Pteris (a latinized
Greek word) is Pteris or Pteridis. (Pteris is by the way a
leptosporangiate fern). Because Phylum names are not covered by priority
  in the ICBN, they can be and have been used interchangeably. While the
ranking of true ferns as a phylum is certainly subject to legitimate
debate, calling that phylum Pterophyta or Pteridophyta has been the norm
in basic botany textbooks for a decade or so (Raven et al., _Biology of
Plants_, only separated the bryophyte phyla in the mid-1990s, but
Pter(id)ophyta has been used for the ferns as far back as I can remember).

(And totally aside from cladistics, I am a proponent of naming taxa on
types even when it is not required, so I would call your Filicopsida
"Pteropsida" [or Pteridopsida] instead.)

It's one thing to support paraphyly; I understand the arguments,
although I disagree with them. It's another thing altogether to ignore
the bountiful evidence from palaeobotany (the trimerophyte-
zosterophyllophyte split), morphology, and molecular studies that the
lycophytes are sister to the rest of the extant vascular plants. And it
is especially egregious to group together Lepidodendron and
Archaeopteris in a taxon that excludes Cycas.

Curtis Clark        
Web Coordinator, Cal Poly Pomona                 +1 909 979 6371
Professor, Biological Sciences                   +1 909 869 4062

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