Cheilanthes bonariensis

Cheilanthes bonariensis (Willd.) Proctor
(according to the type description “Habitat in Bonaria,” apparently in reference to the Caribbean island of Bonaire, located just north of Venezuela)

Local names: Bonaire lip fern, golden lip fern

Rhizomes short-creeping to compact; leaves clustered, 10–60 cm long; petioles dark brown, rounded on upper surface; leaf blades linear, 1–4 cm wide, entirely 1-pinnate-pinnatifid (unique among TX Cheilanthes), the pinnae articulate (dark color of stalk stopping at base of pinnae), the ultimate segments (pinnae lobes) 3–8 pairs per pinna, 1–7 mm long, not bead-like, usually densely white to rusty tomentose on lower surfaces (obscuring surface from view), hirsute above; costae absent; rachises with dense pubescence but without scales; n = 2n = 90 (Windham & Rabe 1993). Rocky slopes, bluffs, and ledges; primarily in the Trans-Pecos in Brewster (C.M. Rowell & J.L. Blassingame 5075, BRIT), Jeff Davis (J.W. Stanford & J.L. Blassingame 1200, BRIT), Presidio (BRIT, TEX-LL), and El Paso (e.g., E..J. Palmer 30608, TEX-LL) cos., but one collection from the Edwards Plateau (Mason Co., T. Starbuck 336, BRIT); AZ, NM, and TX; also Mexico, West Indies, Central and South America. Sporulating summer–fall. [Acrostichum bonariense Willd., Notholaena aurea (Poir.) Desv., Notholaena ferruginea (Willd. ex Link) Hook.] This species, with its 1-pinnate-pinnatifid leaf blades, superficially resembles Astrolepis sinuate, but differs in having } long, matted, white to rusty hairs on the lower leaf surfaces instead of scales (Mickel & Smith 2004). While it was often included in Notholaena in the past (e.g., as Notholaena aurea by Correll 1956), recent molecular research (Rothfels et al. 2008) clearly shows that it is more closely related to species of Cheilanthes. This species is reported to be the “most widespread and abundant pteridophyte species in Mexico” (Mickel & Smith 2004). It is used medicinally in Mexico for stomach aches and coughs (Yarborough & Powell 2002). The species is apparently an apogamous triploid that arose through autopolyploidy (Windham & Rabe 1993).

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