We analyzed the distributional patterns of 66 species of leptosporangiate ferns inhabiting in the Sierra Madre Oriental (SMO), Mexico, using grid-cells and endemism index values, parsimony analysis of endemicity (PAE) and track analysis. The strict consensus area cladogram obtained with PAE showed a polytomy and four main groups or clades, two of them including only two or three grid-cells. The largest group included grid-cells located along the SMO, mainly in the central-southern portions of the SMO; a second group was located at the southern portion of the SMO in the leeward zone of this mountain chain. The track analysis of the fern taxa allowed us to recognize five generalized tracks in the SMO and their convergence showed five nodes. With endemism index values, 11 grid-cells were identified as important areas for ferns, seven of them corresponding to the group 1 of PAE (from montane environments), and four grid-cells to the group 2 of PAE (from leeward areas of the Sierra Madre Oriental). The results obtained herein slightly agree with other published works using other kinds of organisms. The analyses used herein serve to generate useful information about the biogeographic history of this complex area, and led us to support, detect, test and propose areas, important from biogeographic viewpoint, for ferns.
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Vol. 101 • No. 2