Cheilanthes feei

Cheilanthes feei T. Moore
(for A.L.A. Fee, 1789–1874, French botanist)

Local names: slender lip fern, woolly lip fern, Fee’s lip fern

Plant similar to C. tomentosa but with jointed hairs and without tomentum on the petiole and rachis; rhizomes compact to short-creeping; petioles dark brown to black, rounded on upper surface; leaves clustered, relatively small, 4–20 cm long; leaf blades linear-oblong to lanceolate, 1–3 cm wide, 3-pinnate at base, the pinnae not articulate, the ultimate segments 1–3 mm long, rounded, bead-like, densely long hairy on lower surfaces, sparsely hairy to nearly glabrous upper surfaces; costae without scales on lower surfaces; n = 2n = 90 (Windham & Rabe 1993). Dry, limestone or calcareous, rocky slopes, ledges, and crevices, usually on limestone; widespread in the w . of TX e to Cross Timbers and Prairies—Hamilton and Palo Pinto (Correll 1956; Turner et al. 2003) cos. (e.g., Bandera Co., C.M. Rowell & J.L. Blassingame 4563; Culberson Co, Correll 13755, both BRIT); sw Canada and much of w U.S. e to WI, IL, MO, AR, and TX, also disjunct to isolated localities in KY and VA—the VA locality is disjunct by 450 km/289 mi from the nearest site in KY (Wieboldt & Bentley 1982); also n Mexico. Sporulating Mar–Nov. This species is a triploid (of unknown parentage) that reproduces via apogamy (= a type of asexual reproduction that does not involve fertilization; the sporophyte is formed directly from the gametophyte without gamete production) (Windham & Rabe 1993, Moran 2004). Cheilanthes feei can be confused with C. lendigera, but the latter species can be distinguished by its wellformed false indusia forming a pouch and also by its usually larger leaves (Mickel & Smith 2004). It can also be confused with small plants of C. tomentosa, but the petiole pubescence in “C. feei consists of crisp, multicellular, spreading hairs, with no linear scales, whereas C. tomentosa has loosely appressed, single-celled hairs mixed with linear scales” (Yarborough & Powell 2002). This is one of a number of ferns found primarily in the sw or w U.S. with isolated disjunct populations in the southern Appalachians (see discussion on page 31).

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