Recently collected material of the monotypic schizaeaceous fern genus Phialopteris is described including for the first time the in situ spores. The complex nomenclatural history of the type species is discussed, resulting in the designation of the new combination Phialopteris heterophylla (Sternberg ex Göppert, 1836) comb. nov. as type. This delicate fern has so far only been found in the Hettangian of Bavaria (Germany). Along with a comparison with contemporary schizaeaceous ferns and extant members of Schizaeaceae, and with dispersed spores, the possibility that this fern might have been a climbing fern, similar to some living Lygodium species, is briefly discussed.