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Family Psilotaceae: (Wisk-ferns)
Latin Name: Psilotum nudum
Common Name: Wisk-fern


P. nudum, detail of stems and spherical sporangia.

Synonymy: None listed. 1 Wetland Indicator Status: FacU+ (NWI). Native. 2

Range: Peninsula. 1

Habitat/Ecology: Moist to wet hammocks, dredge spoil, swamps. 1

Identification: Plant has the appearance of a leafless twig, to .5 m tall. No similar species. 3

Reproduction: Typical fern. Plant produces spores in large, solitary sporangia that develop into a threadlike subterranean gametophyte. 3

Observations: This plant is almost always found associated with the bases of Sabal palmetto in our area and is often referred to as an epiphyte even though it grows in the ground.

Notes: This plant is one of just 8 species in its entire group. Only one species is found in the U.S. There are no roots and only very reduced bract-like appendages, no true leaves. No flowers or seeds. Both names mean “bare”, referring to leafless stem.
1 - Wunderlin and Hansen, 2003. 2 - 3 – Nelson, 2000.


P. nudum, detail of habit, growing at base of Sabal palmetto.

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