The euphyllophytes are a clade of plants within the tracheophytes (the vascular plants). The group may be treated as an unranked clade,[1] a division under the name Euphyllophyta[2] or a subdivision under the name Euphyllophytina.[3] The euphyllophytes are characterized by the possession of true leaves ("megaphylls"), and comprise one of two major lineages of extant vascular plants.[4] As shown in the cladogram below, the euphyllophytes have a sister relationship to the lycopodiophytes or lycopsids. Unlike the lycopodiophytes, which consist of relatively few presently living or extant taxa, the euphyllophytes comprise the vast majority of vascular plant lineages that have evolved since both groups shared a common ancestor more than 400 million years ago.[4] The euphyllophytes consist of two lineages, the spermatophytes or seed plants such as flowering plants (angiosperms) and gymnosperms (conifers and related groups), and the Polypodiophytes or ferns, as well as a number of extinct fossil groups.[4]

Scientific classification e
Domain: Eukaryota
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Embryophytes
Clade: Polysporangiophytes
Clade: Tracheophytes
Clade: Euphyllophytes
Synonyms[citation needed]
  • Euphyllophyta Kenrick & Crane 1997
  • Telomophyta

The division of the extant tracheophytes into three monophyletic lineages is supported in multiple molecular studies.[4][5][6] Other researchers argue that phylogenies based solely on molecular data without the inclusion of carefully evaluated fossil data based on whole plant reconstructions, do not necessarily completely and accurately resolve the evolutionary history of groups like the euphyllophytes.[7]

The following cladogram shows one view of the evolutionary relationships among the taxa described above.[4]












Ophioglossoid ferns

Whisk ferns

Marattioid ferns


Leptosporangiate ferns

An updated phylogeny of both living and extinct Euphyllophytes[8][9][10] with plant taxon authors from Anderson, Anderson & Cleal 2007[11] and some clade names from Pelletier 2012.[12]




Lycopodiophytina Tippo sensu Ruggiero et al. 2015 (Clubmosses, Spikemosses & Quillworts)





Polypodiophytina Reveal 1966 sensu Ruggiero et al. 2015 (Ferns)








Spermatophytina sensu Ruggiero et al. 2015 (Seed plants)


  1. ^ Kenrick, P. (2000), "The relationships of vascular plants", Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 355 (1398): 847–855, doi:10.1098/rstb.2000.0619, PMC 1692788, PMID 10905613
  2. ^ Monterrosa, J. & Monro, A.K. (2008), "An Annotated Checklist of the Monilophytes (Ferns) and Lycophytes of El Salvador", Fern Gazette, 18 (4): 120–215, retrieved 2016-11-27
  3. ^ Alan R. Smith; Kathleen M. Pryer; Eric Schuettpelz; Petra Korall; Harald Schneider & Paul G. Wolf (2006), "A classification for extant ferns" (PDF), Taxon, 55 (3): 705–731, doi:10.2307/25065646, JSTOR 25065646, archived from the original (PDF) on 2008-02-26
  4. ^ a b c d e Kathleen M. Pryer, Eric Schuettpelz, Paul G. Wolf, Harald Schneider, Alan R. Smith and Raymond Cranfill (2004), "Phylogeny and evolution of ferns (monilophytes) with a focus on the early leptosporangiate divergences", American Journal of Botany, 91 (10): 1582–1598, doi:10.3732/ajb.91.10.1582, PMID 21652310CS1 maint: uses authors parameter (link)
  5. ^ Alan R. Smith, Kathleen M. Pryer, Eric Schuettpelz, Petra Korall, Harald Schneider and Paul G. Wolf (2006), "A classification for extant ferns", Taxon, 55 (3): 705–731, doi:10.2307/25065646, JSTOR 25065646CS1 maint: uses authors parameter (link)
  6. ^ Kathleen M. Pryer, Harald Schneider, Alan R. Smith, Raymond Cranfill, Paul G. Wolf, Jeffrey S. Hunt, and Sedonia D. Sipes (2001), "Horsetails and ferns are a monophyletic group and the closest living relatives to seed plants", Nature, 409 (6820): 618–622, doi:10.1038/35054555, PMID 11214320CS1 maint: uses authors parameter (link)
  7. ^ Rothwell, G.W. & Nixon, K.C. (2006), "How Does the Inclusion of Fossil Data Change Our Conclusions about the Phylogenetic History of Euphyllophytes?", International Journal of Plant Sciences, 167 (3): 737–749, doi:10.1086/503298
  8. ^ Kenrick, Paul; Crane, Peter R. (1997), The Origin and Early Diversification of Land Plants: A Cladistic Study, Washington, D. C.: Smithsonian Institution Press, pp. 339–340, ISBN 978-1-56098-730-7
  9. ^ Crane, P.R.; Herendeen, P.; Friis, E.M. (2004), "Fossils and plant phylogeny", American Journal of Botany, 91 (10): 1683–99, doi:10.3732/ajb.91.10.1683, PMID 21652317, retrieved 2011-01-27
  10. ^ Gonez, P. & Gerrienne, P. (2010a), "A New Definition and a Lectotypification of the Genus Cooksonia Lang 1937", International Journal of Plant Sciences, 171 (2): 199–215, doi:10.1086/648988
  11. ^ Anderson, Anderson & Cleal (2007), "Brief history of the gymnosperms: classification, biodiversity, phytogeography and ecology", Strelitzia, SANBI, 20: 280, ISBN 978-1-919976-39-6
  12. ^ Pelletier (2012), Empire biota: taxonomy and evolution 2nd ed,, p. 354, ISBN 978-1329874008