Pteridophytes are Vascular cryptogams i.e., plants of this group possess vascular tissue (i.e., xylem and phloem) for the conduction of water, minerals and for translocation of foods, they are mostly herbaceous and grow in moist and shady places. Some important characteristics of plants of this group are as follows:
1. The main plant body is sporophyte, usually, differentiated into roots (except Psilophyta), stem and leaves (some times leaves absent.)
2. Vascular tissue is differentiated into xylem and phloem.
3. In xylem, trachea (vessels ) are absent and in phloem companion cells are absent.
4. They are flowerless plants.
5. They do not produce seeds.
6. Spores are borne in sporangia.
7. Sporangia are produced in groups (sori) on sporophylls.
8. The gametophytic plant is smaller and less differentiated (i.e., simple).
9. The gametophyte bears male reproductive structures called antheridia and female reproductive structures called archegonia,
10. The antheridia bear antherozoids and archegonia bear oosphere (=egg).
11. The plants show definite alternation of generations.