The goal of this website is to provide a worldwide monograph and phylogenetic study of the fern genus Megalastrum (Dryopteridaceae). It will make available in a single location all the information that we and our collaborators have accumulated on the taxonomy and biology of the genus.
Eventually we will include keys to species (not yet available), pages for each species, and copies of papers published about Megalastrum. Upon completing our studies of the different species of Megalastrum, we will provide information about how to identify the species, their biogeography, character evolution, habitats, and phylogenetic relationships. Specimen citations and photos will also be provided. So far, we have completed studies of the species of Megalastrum in the Africa, the West Indies, and Brazil, Paraguay, and Uruguay. Information about these species is posted. We are currently working on the species from Central and South America, and information about these species should be posted by the end of 2009. We hope this site will be useful to many researchers—such as conservationists, foresters, taxonomists—and above all stimulate further research on the genus.
We estimate that Megalastrum contains about 70 species, some as yet undescribed. The genus is neotropical, from Mexico and the Antilles to Uruguay and Argentina, except for three species that occur in Africa, Madagascar, and the Mascarenes (Fig. 1). All species are terrestrial and grow in wet forests, most inhabit middle elevations (800-2000 m). The genus is mostly rare or absent in lowland areas, such as the Amazon and Congo Basins. View distribution of Megalastrum.