Cheilanthes alabamensis

Cheilanthes alabamensis (Buckley) Kunze
(of Alabama, where the plant was originally collected in 1843— Nelson 2000)

Local names: Alabama lip fern, smooth lip fern

Rhizomes short-creeping to compact; leaves clustered, 6–50 cm long; petioles black, rounded on upper surface; leaf blades lanceolate to oblong, 1–7 cm wide, 2-pinnate to 2-pinnate-pinnatifid at base, the pinnae not articulate, the largest ultimate segments (= the smallest subdivisions of the leaf) 3–7 mm long, not bead-like, with sparse hairs or glabrous on lower (unusual in that most other species except C. aemula and C. fendleri are hairy) and upper surfaces; costae without scales on lower surfaces; rachises rounded on upper surfaces, with different types of pubescence on upper and lower surfaces, the hairs on upper dense, short, twisted, and appressed, the hairs on lower sparse, long, and spreading; n = 2n = 87 (triploids; Windham & Rabe 1993). Limestone hillsides, crevices of limestone ledges and cliffs, but sometimes on igneous substrates; widespread across TX, but most common in Edwards Plateau (e.g., Kerr Co., Correll & Correll 12812, BRIT, TEX-LL); mostly s 1⁄2 of U.S. from VA s to FL w to TX, NM, and AZ; also Mexico. Sporulating nearly throughout the year, especially Mar–Nov. [Pteris alabamensis Buckley, Pellaea alabamensis (Buckley) Hook.] Populations in the U.S. are apogamous triploids apparently derived via autopolyploidy; sexual diploids have, however, been found in Mexico (Windham & Rabe 1993; Windham & Yatskievych 2003b).

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