Cheilanthes lendigera

Cheilanthes lendigera (Cav.) Sw.
(Latin: lens or lendis, nit—egg of a louse, or lens, lentil—a small lensshaped fruit, and -ger, from gero, to bear or carry, = bearing nits or lentils, presumably in reference to the small, bead-like appearance of the ultimate leaf segments)

Local names: beaded lip fern, nit-bearing lip fern

Rhizomes long-creeping; leaves scattered to clustered, 5–30 cm long; petioles usually dark brown, rounded on upper surface; leaf blades ovate-deltate to oblong-lanceolate, (1.5–)5–8 cm wide, usually 4-pinnate at base, the pinnae not articulate, the ultimate segments rounded, bead-like, the largest 1–3 mm long, with coarse hairs on lower surfaces, glabrous on upper surfaces; scales on underside of costae inconspicuous, linear, hair-like; false indusia well-formed, 2–3 mm wide, not limited to the segment margin, making a pouch with a somewhat constricted opening, much of the lower surface of the ultimate segments covered by the false indusia; 2n = 120 (Windham & Rabe 1993). Rocky slopes and ledges, typically on igneous substrates; in TX known only from the Chisos Mts. in s Brewster Co. (B. Warnock 1100, BRIT, TEX-LL) and from the Chinati Mts. In Presidio Co. (Warnock 456, 460, 495, all SRSC); AZ and TX; also Mexico, Central and n South America; all U.S. populations are within about 13 mi (21 km) of the international border. Sporulating summer–fall. [Pteris lendigera Cav., Myriopteris lendigera (Cav.) J. Smith] The well-formed, broad false indusia making a “pouch” are distinctive—they give the ultimate leaf segments a bead-like appearance (hence the common name). It has been suggested that this species is a fertile allotetraploid resulting from the hybridization of two Mexican species (Mickel & Smith 2004). Because of its rareness and limited distribution in the state, we consider this species to be of conservation concern in TX.

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