Information about fern spore banks is restricted to the soil systems. As the dispersion of spores occurs by means of air, it is possible to have viable spores on tree bark. Thus, it is important to know if on this kind of substrate, which is thinner and apparently more susceptible to desiccation than the soil, the spores can survive for any length of time, forming transient or persistent spore banks. Samples of bark were collected from ten angiosperm trees in March 1997 and from fifteen trees in February and September 1998. The samples collected in March 1997 contained from 0.05 to 7.19 gametophytes cm−2 of cultured bark, those of February 1998 from 0.11 to 4.22 gametophytes cm−2, and in September 1998 from 0.32 to 5.0 gametophytes per square cm. Although the cerrado region is characterized by climatic seasonality, this seasonality was not observed in relation to number of viable spores on barks. As a consequence of the casual spore dispersion pattern, the bark spore bank has a random distribution among the trunks. Ten species were identified on barks collected in February 1998 and fifteen in September 1998, one of them epiphytic (Phlebodium areolatum (Humb. & Bonpl. ex Willd.) J. Sm.) and the others terrestrial species. Thelypteris was the most frequent genus in the analyzed samples. The results obtained show the potential for these substrates to retain viable spores that can participate in the regeneration process and population dynamics of the pteridophyte flora. Moreover, the existence of viable spores of terrestrial species on tree bark does not answer an important question—why do terrestrial species not establish themselves on trees?