Flora Malesiana IV Symposium
Pteridophyte Workshop, 21th. July 1998-08-19

Convenor / Chairperson / Secretary: Dr. Harald Schneider

Participants: Dr. Dedy Damaedi, Dr. David S, Edwards, Ms. Ruseo Go, Prof. Babara Hoshizaki, Dr Takashi Hoshizaki, Prof. Kunio lwatsuki, Prof. Robert J. Johns, Dr. Rosie S. Madulid, Ms. Emilina Mandida, Dr. Noriaki Murakami, Dr. Hans P. Nootebbom, Dr. Babara Parris, Dr. Christopher Puttock, Mrs. N. Wulijami-Soetjipto.


Pteridology has a long and successful tradition in Malesia, which is preliminary, connected with one name, Prof. R.E.Holttum. Other important contributors, such as A.H.G. Alston, B. Hennipman, and K.U. Kramer, are retired or deceased. The main problem today is the lack of human resources that is closely related to the limitation of funding, Particularly, dearth of well-experienced pteridolgists from the Malesian region is an important problem for the future. It will be important to promote young talent from the region to find their way in the scientific community. However, the attraction to study a nearly to completely useless plant group is limited in modem times. Perhaps the best idea is to eat these useless plants as common in Bomeo.

Some participants claimed pteridologists as an endangered species in the Malesian region, but this may be also the case in many other countries. If we check the situation in Europe we are confronted with the same pattern of a dearth of experience. As an example pteidology is nearly extinct in German Universities and research institutes. We need to find funding for young talent not only in Malesia but also in other countries. Otherwise the experience is going extinct about one of the most eminent plant groups of Malesia.

The workshop has had a long list of objectivity, but only parts of these have been discussed. This report does not only include the discussion but also information about the state of the art complied by the convenor.

1.Identification of the state of art

a. Treatments for Flora Malesiana

Treatments (Flora Malesiana part 2) are published or they are in press for the following families: Azollaceae, Cheiropleuriaceae, Cyatheaceae, Davalliaceae, Dicksoniaceae, Dryopteridaceae subfam. Tectarioideae, Equisetaceae, Gleicheniaceae, Isoetaceae, Lindsaeaceae, Lomariopsidaceae, Matoniaccae, Plagiogyriaceae, Polypodiaceae, Schizaeaceae, Thelypteridaceae.

Some treatments are in preparation: Dipteridaceae (R.J. Johns), Grammitidaceae (B. Parris), Hymenophyllaceae (K. lwatsuki), Loxogrammaceae (M.C. Price, ?), Marattiaceae (J.M. Caiuus), Monachosoraceae (H.P. Nooteboom), Nephrolepidaceae (P.H. Hovenkamp), Oleandraceae (R.J. Johns), Ophioglossaceae (W.H. Wagner), Osmundaceae (H.P. Nooteboom), Psilotaceae (B. Chinock, ?), Salviniaceae (P.V. Madhussidanan, ?), Selaginellaceae (J.M. Camus). (Question marks note that no information is available about the progress).

At least some families lack any worker or only parts are in preparation:

Aspleniaceae: R.J.Johns, N. Murakarni - this huge family with more than 200 species in Malesia needs more authors.
Blechnaceae: Generain work are Blechnum (C. Chambers, status unclear) and Doodia (B. Parris). Authors wanted for Brainea, Stenochlaena and Woodwardia.
Dennstaedtiaceae: authors wanted expected contributors for parts P, Brownsey (Hypolepis) and J.M. Camus.
Dryopteridaceae: (excluding Woodsiaceae and Tectarioidae): authors wanted, D. Damaedi is expected as the contributor of Dryopteris and related genera.
Lycopodiaceae: authors wanted
Marsileaceae: authors wanted
Pteridaceae: three of five subfamilies are prepared or in preparation: Ceratopteridoideae (H.P.Nooteboom), Cheilanthoideae (H. Schneider), Taenitidoideae (H. Schneider). Authors wanted for Adiantoideae and Pteridoideae.
Vittariaceae: authors wanted
Woodsaiceae: authors wanted.

Priority list: The completion of families should have preferences. Special priority has the completion of the Pteridaceae because more than 2/3 of genera is prepared (about 1/2 of species). Furthermore, many genera of pteridophytes are proper for MSc and PhD projects. The selection may base on the preferences of the supervisors in charge. At all, it will be useful to prefer projects connected to treatments in preparation such as Blechnaceae, Pteridaceae, etc. However, no progress will be done if we could involve and fund more contributors. Nearly all, small families are in preparation now and only the large ones remains. The prep ion of these treatments will be only possible with cooperations in a suitable time.

Status of the Pteridophytes in Flora Malesiana

37 families are recognised in the Malesian region, classification according Kramer et al. (1991) modified as in Schneider (1996).

Category of family Number of families Notes
Published 15.5 Only one half of Dryopteridaceae is published.
In preparation 13
Only parts are in preparation 4.5 This category is not clear separated from the following one
without any contributor 4

42 % of the families are published and 35 % are in preparation. Only 23 % need further contributions.

A similar image is found on the genus level. About 158 genera are recognised for the region. 71 genera (45 %) are published and 47 (30 %) are in press or preparaed. Only 40 (25 %) are untreated. However, some of the genus are species-rich (Asplenium and Diplazium).

While for the large genera little progress can be expected in the near future, the state is very advanced in comparison to other plant groups. It may be possible to finish treatments of more than 90 % of the diversity of pteridophytes in the next years if we can resolve the financial pressure. However, some older treatments may need up-dates because new collections (especially in New Guinea) include new locations and sometimes new species. R.J. Johns suggests the need of a new study of Isoetes as an example. The majority of participants agrees that one study may be interesitng to illustrate the restriction of floristic treatments but our priority should be given to all the genera lacking any treatment.

a. Local Floras

Some progress has been made in local pteridophyte floras. Recent checklists are available for Malaysia and Singapore. A fem flora is also in preparation for Brunei D aussalam and the Flora of Seram is nearly completed. Only two families are remaining (pers. comm.). Furthermore, Zamora (pers. comm.) is preparing a treatment about cheilanthoid ferns in the Philippines. His research has given important results about the reproductive biology of these ferns.

How to promote Pteridology in Malesia

As noted earlier the main problem is the restriction of human resources especially in Malesia itself. The few specialists could not visit all-important sites and we depend on collections made by none specialists. However, they often avoid to collect ferns because the lack the knowledge about the collecting of ferns and their identification. Many smaller local herbaria are not often visited by specialists and they lack the possibility to identify their collections. It will be important to secure the quantity and quality of collections made by none specialists. We have discussed some important points to fix the probems.

J.M. Camus (NHM) has suggested the preparation of a manual about the collecting of ferns. B. Parris argued that a sufficient description is given in D.Bridson & L. Formann (1992) The Herbarium Handbook, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew (pp. 232-234; The collection of Pteridophytes).

A further instrument may be a expert list of Pteridologists for Malesialia, which allow non-specialists to find specialists. However, these are often located at the main institutes and to find contacts may be no real problem.

At all, the main important instrument is the training of staffs of local herbaria and students by specialists in field courses. Such courses allow to train the participants in the collecting ferns (including important morphological and ecological formation notes on the label), recognition of pteridophyte families and especially recognition of interesting ferns in the field. The most non Malesian specialists are willingness to teach such courses but initiative are needed from local authorities for organisation and funding.

A helpful instrument for the identification by non-specialists may be also a checklist of species compiled for the complete Malesian region. The last dated back to the beginning of century (Alderwereld 1908, 1917). The Internet provides us a new much more dynamical medium for the publishing of such checklists. They are easily updated if research and new collections give a better image of the diversity. The connection to the Flora Malesiana web-page may be accessible for a broad public. This may be also promote the inclusion of pteridophytes in ecological and biogeographical research. They are often neglected as subjects although various studies have shown their importance.

Furthermore, a short report was given about progress and problems of PROSEA vol 15. Cryptogams section Pteridophytes. An editor and authors for maining treatments are wanted.


However, we must stressed out the same restriction as other workshops too, human resources. No progress will be done if we can not found financial resources for young pteridologists.


First, I will thank all participants for their contributions to the workshop. Additionally I want to thank J.M. Camus (coordinator Pteridophytes), M. Roos and P.H. Hovenkamp for their suggestions and help in preparation of the workshop. In spite of resticted time, low temperature and a not sufficient disposition of the chairs, we have had an interesting discussion.