What Are the Characteristics of Pteridophyta?

Some characteristics of pteridophyta plants include reproduction through spores, leaves that provide energy through photosynthesis, specialized stems called rhizomes, and vascular systems that transport water and nutrients. The plant phylum pteridophyta consists entirely of ferns, including more than 12,000 individual species. Ferns grow in border areas where other plants may not survive, and these plants grow in deserts, on mountains and in moist forests.

Fern reproduction happens when small structures on leaves known as sori make spores that travel by wind, water and animals to new locations. Since ferns use spores to make new organisms, these plants do not have flowers, fruit, pollen or seeds.

Ferns have green leaves known as fronds. These fronds have a stalk, blade and smaller leaflets called "pinnae." Fronds produce energy like normal plants, and the vascular system of ferns transports these nutrients to the stem and roots.

Rhizomes are special stems that grow sideways at the surface or even underground. Rhizomes multiply and produce fern colonies where these structures take root. Sometimes, rhizomes dig sideways underground to emerge some distance away from the original plant.

The phylum pteridophyta has one class and four orders. One order of ferns includes those that grow in water. Another order contains woody varieties of ferns. These types of plants are some of the oldest species on Earth. The term pteridophyta comes from Greek words that mean "winged plant."