Cheilanthes tomentosa

Cheilanthes tomentosa Link
(Latin: tomentum, woolly hairs, = densely woolly, covered with short, soft, curly, densely matted or entangled hairs)

Local names: woolly lip fern

Rhizomes compact; leaves clustered, 8–45 cm long; petioles usually dark brown, rounded on upper surface, densely tomentose; leaf blades oblong-lanceolate, 1.5–8 cm wide, usually 4-pinnate basally, the pinnae not articulate, the ultimate segments oval (rarely oblong), bead-like, the largest 1–2 mm long, densely tomentose on lower surfaces, pubescent with fine, unbranched hairs on upper surfaces; scales on underside of costae inconspicuous, linear, only slightly wider than hairs, usually entire; sporangia black at maturity; n = 2n = 90 (Windham & Rabe 1993). Rocky slopes and ledges; widely distributed in TX (e.g., Burnet Co., S.L. Hatch 6238, BRIT, TEX-LL); across much of s 1⁄2 of U.S. from PA and WV s to GA w to TX, NM, and AZ; also Alberta, Canada and Mexico. Sporulating mainly May–Oct. [Myriopteris tomentosa (Link) J. Smith] This species is a triploid (parentage unknown) 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; Weakley 2010). It is “closely related to C. eatonii, but it is distinguished by having narrower [filiform], less prominent costal scales” [these more evident in C. eatonii] (Windham & Rabe 1993). It could also be confused with C. feei—see that species for discussion.

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