Pteridophytes:Economic Importance

Pteridophytes have great economic value some important ones are discussed below

1. Food

Pteridophytes are an excellent form of food for animals. Certain tribals cook and eat the sporocarps of Marsilea.  These are a rich source of starch and are eaten for their nutritive value as food. Many ferns’ dry fronds are utilised as livestock feed.  

2. Scouring

Pteridophytes are also used as indicator plants. Equisetum’s stems accumulate minerals, particularly gold. Nickel indicator plants include Asplenium adulterinum and Actinopteris australis, whereas cobalt indicators include Actinopteris australis.  

3. Nitrogen fixation

Some ferns e,g water Fern Azolla form a symbiotic association with nitrogen-fixing cyanobacteria Anabaena azollae. These are used as biofertilizers in paddy fields.

4. Medicines

Rhizomes of male shield fern are used to obtain the anti-helminthic drug. Equisetum is used in the preparation of diuretic, haemostatic and haemopoietic drugs. Lycopodium is used in homoeopathy to treat diarrhoea, bladder irritability, eczema, rheumatism, constipation and inflammation of the liver.

5. Ornamental

Ferns are known for their attractive foliage, hence are grown as ornamental plants and used in bouquets and floral decorations.

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