Danaea is a fern genus of approximately 50 species in the eusporangiate fern family Marattiaceae. They are small to intermediately large ferns with erect or creeping rhizomes and usually once-pinnate leaves with opposite pinnae. The fertile leaves are contracted, acrostichoid and covered below with sunken, linear synangia. The genus Danaea has a neotropical distribution, occurring from southern Mexico through Central America, the Caribbean and northern South America to Bolivia, Paraguay and the Mata Atlantica in Brazil and Northern Argentina. There is also a population on Isla del Coco (Cocos Island) in the Pacific.

Die Farrnkräuter in kolorirten Abbildungen naturgetreu Erläutert und Beschrieben (1840) (20292937913).jpg
Danaea leprieurii
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Tracheophytes
Division: Polypodiophyta
Class: Polypodiopsida
Order: Marattiales
Family: Marattiaceae
Genus: Danaea

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The genus name of Danaea is named after the Greek mythology, Danaë, an Argive princess and mother of the hero Perseus by Zeus.[1]

Two species Danaea carillensis (Costa Rica) and D. simplicifolia (Guianas, Brazil, Trinidad) have simple, undivided leaves, and some other species sometimes have bipinnate leaves (D. atlantica, D. bipinnata, D. nodosa, D. urbanii). One species Danaea kalevala of the Lesser Antilles was named in honour of the Finnish heroic epic Kalevala.

The basal chromosome number for this genus is 2n=80. The type species is Danaea nodosa.


Danaea is the basal lineage in the Marattiaceae and the oldest fossils are from the Paleocene, a period where rainforests became more abundant. It has radiated in these early rainforests and presently counts about 50 species in 3 sections: sect. Danaea, sect. Arthrodanaea and sect. Holodanaea.



  1. ^ Burkhardt, Lotte (2022). Eine Enzyklopädie zu eponymischen Pflanzennamen [Encyclopedia of eponymic plant names] (pdf) (in German). Berlin: Botanic Garden and Botanical Museum, Freie Universität Berlin. doi:10.3372/epolist2022. ISBN 978-3-946292-41-8. Retrieved January 27, 2022.
  • Christenhusz, M. J. M., Tuomisto, H. Metzgar, J. and Pryer, K. M., in press. Evolutionary relationships within the Neotropical, eusporangiate fern genus Danaea (Marattiaceae). Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution (Elsevier).
  • Christenhusz, M.J.M., Tuomisto, H. 2005. Some notes on the taxonomy, biogeography and ecology of Danaea (Marattiaceae). Fern Gazette 17 (5): 217–222.
  • Christenhusz, M. J. M. 2006. Three new species of Danaea (Marattiaceae) from French Guiana and the Lesser Antilles. Annales Botanici Fennici 43: 212–219.
  • Christenhusz, M. J. M., Tuomisto, H. 2006. Five new species of Danaea (Marattiaceae) from Peru and a new status for D. elliptica. Kew Bulletin 61: 17–30.
  • Christenhusz, M. J. M. 2010. Danaea (Marattiaceae) revisited: biodiversity, a new classification and ten new species of a neotropical fern genus. Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society 163: 360–385.
  • Tuomisto, H., Moran, R. C. 2001. Marattiaceae. In: Harling, G., Anderson, L. (eds.), Flora of Ecuador 66: 22–170.
  • Underwood, L.M. 1902. American Ferns - V, A Review of the Genus Danaea. Bulletin of the Torrey Botanical Club 29(12): 669–679.