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The relationship of "pteridophytes" to other vascular plants (= tracheophytes) has become clearer in recent years. Investigations into the origin and evolution of the major groups of vascular plants indicate that there is a deep division of the vascular plants into two lineages. One of these lineages includes only the lycophytes (clubmosses, spikemosses, and quillworts). The other lineage includes two major clades: the spermatophytes or seed plants (including more than 250,000 species of angiosperms [flowering plants], conifers, cycads, gnetophytes, and the Gingko) and the monilophytes or ferns (sensu lato, including the horsetails, whisk ferns, and eusporangiate and leptosporangiate ferns, with most of the roughly 12,000 monilophyte species being leptosporangiate ferns). The spermatophytes and monilophytes together comprise a clade known as Euphyllophyta.
Plants in the lycophyte and monilophyte clades are apparently not each other's closest relatives (since the monilophytes are believed to be sister to the seed plants), but because they both produce spores and not seeds, the lycophytes and ferns have traditionally been grouped together in what is now generally recognized to be a paraphyletic group referred to as "pteridophytes" or "ferns and fern allies".
(Pryer et al. 2001; Pryer et al. 2004; Smith et al. 2006; Lehtonen 2011 and references therein)