I would like to know the origin of the term Monilophyta. I know it's from Kenrick and Crane, but where did they get monilo-? It's not in my enormous Liddell and Scott Greek dictionary, nor is there any word starting with ilo- or hilo- that seems at all likely. Is it from the Latin word "monile" meaning necklace?

This is driving me crazy.

  • $\begingroup$ The Division has its name from a cross section of the stem, are lobes of protoxilema which remember the look of a necklace $\endgroup$ – Ebbinghaus Feb 2 '16 at 17:05

Phylogeny and evolution of ferns (monilophytes) with a focus on the early leptosporangiate divergences:

The monilophytes (= Infradivision Moniliformopses, sensu Kenrick and Crane, 1997⇓) share a distinctive vasculature, having protoxylem confined to lobes of the xylem strand (Stein, 1993⇓), therefore the Latin moniliformis appellation for “necklace-like.”


Monilophytes = Leptosporangiate ferns, horsetails, whisk ferns, marattioid ferns, & ophioglossoid ferns.

According to A Dictionary of Entomology:

Latin, monil = necklace

As for "phyte," I'll quote this Source:

Greek, -phyte = denoting a plant or plantlike organism

So it literally means "necklace plants. "

From Rai & Graham (2010) :

The extant monilophytes (a name based on a “moniliform” or necklace-like stele thought to be ancestral in the group; Kenrick and Crane, 1997; Pryer et al., 2004)

Note : stele = the central core of the stem and root of a vascular plant, consisting of the vascular tissue (xylem and phloem) and associated supporting tissue.

In other words, the vasculature of all of these plants are arranged like a beaded necklace. This is further alluded to in Pryer et al. (2004) as quoted in @Kendall's answer


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