Gametophyte morphology and development of seven species of Cyatheacae in China are described. The spores of the seven species are of typical shape (trilete, tetrahedral) and they exhibit Cyathea-type germination. The gametophytes undergo Adiantum-type development with occasional Drynaria-type development. Filaments are usually 2–3 cells long. The normal adult prothalli are cordate and thalloid with prominent cushions in the middle of the two wings. Prothalli are usually bisexual and antheridia form earlier than archegonia. Lingulate, strap-like and branched prothalli easily grow on the crowded improved Knop's agar media, which produce notches late and produce more antheridia. In distilled water, filamentous prothalli only produce antheridia. The shapes of the mature prothalli of Sphaeropteris brunoniana and Alsophila austro-yunnanensis are distinct among seven species. Multicellular chlorophyllous hairs appear on dorsal or ventral surfaces in the archegonial region near the notch when the prothallus matures, and the hairs are scaly when they get old. Hairs of the prothallus are like those on the juvenile sporophyte fronds. Vegetative proliferations of old protahlli have been observed.
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