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Fern ally

Fern ally is a term for a diverse group of vascular plants that are neither flowering plants nor ferns and which reproduce by shedding spore to initiate an alternation of generations.

There are four main groups of plants considered to be "fern allies." In various classification schemes, these may be grouped as classes or divisions within the plant kingdom. The traditional classification scheme follows:

  • Kingdom: Plantae
    • Division Tracheophyta (vascular plants)
      • Class Lycopsida, fern-allies, the clubmosses and related plants
      • Class Sphenopsida (Equisetopsida), fern-allies, the horsetails and scouring-rushes
      • Class Psilopsida, fern-allies, the whiskbrooms[?]
      • Class Filices, the ferns
      • Seed plants (Class Spermatopsida or several different classes)

A newer classification scheme follows:

  • Kingdom Plantae

Many botanists may regard the three classes of the Archeophyta as divisions in and of themselves. The ophioglossoids (Ophioglossopsida) were once thought to be ferns, but are now known to be distinct due to genetic studies.

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