Plan the perfect garden with our interactive tool →

Human Uses of Seedless Vascular Plants

more growing ferns image by Benjamin Jefferson from

Seedless vascular plants are simple plants with vascular structures that transport water and nutrients. They do not make seeds, but reproduce by windblown spores. The plants in the four divisions of seedless vascular plants are used for landscaping, medicines and household items.


The Lycophyta division includes Lycopodiums, which are used in floral arrangements and as groundcover plants in outside gardens. A poultice of lycopodium leaves is used to relieve painful tense muscles, while the spores of club mosses are used in medicines and talcum powders. Selaginallas grow in damp moist places and are used in terrariums and interior gardenscapes.


The plants in the Psilophyta division are the simplest vascular plants and do not have roots or leaves. Whisk ferns, as they are called, are tropical plants and can be grown indoors as novelty plants.


The plants in the Pterophyta division are called ferns and are the most commonly know seedless vascular plant. Ferns are ornamental foliage plants with feathery divided leaves, or fronds, that are grown indoors and outdoors. The fronds are used for bedding in tropical areas, as well as for weaving hats and baskets. The fiddleheads of ferns are edible, and the foliage is used to make ale and folk medicines.


The Sphenophyta division contains one genus, Equisetum, which is commonly called horsetail or scouring rush. The latter name comes from the fact that the ribbed stems of the plants contain silica. Equisetums are used in cleaning and polishing compounds, shampoos and medicines. Silica helps fix calcium in the body, so Equisetum is used to strengthen bones, fingernails and hair. Equisetum is also used to treat arthritis, gout, obesity, diabetes, urinary tract problems, prostrate problems and heavy bleeding.


Do not use any of these plants or any other plants for medicinal purposes before consulting a licensed medical practitioner.

Garden Guides