Cheilanthes wootonii

Cheilanthes wootonii Maxon
(for Elmer Ottis Wooton, 1865–1945, pioneer New Mexico botanist, first resident plant taxonomist in the state, and co-author of the 1915 Flora of New Mexico; see Allred 1990, 2008)

Local names: Wooton’s lip fern

Very similar morphologically to C. yavapensis; rhizomes somewhat long-creeping, the scales usually uniformly brown or weakly bicolored, loosely appressed and deciduous on older parts of rhizomes; leaves somewhat scattered; petioles usually dark brown, rounded on upper surface; leaf blades oblong-lanceolate to nearly ovate, 2–6 cm wide, 3–4 pinnate at base, the pinnae not articulate, the ultimate segments round to oblong, bead-like, the largest 1–3 mm long, glabrous on lower surfaces or with a few scales near base, glabrous on upper surfaces; scales on underside of costae lanceolate-ovate, conspicuous, often concealing ultimate segments when viewed from below; n = 2n = 90 (Windham & Rabe 1993); spores averaging less than 62 μm diam. (versus more than 62 μm in C. yavapensis) (Windham 1993e). Rocky slopes, ledges, typically on igneous materials; Hudspeth (Correll & Johnston 24328, BRIT, ident. by M.D. Windham, TEX-LL, ident. By T. Reeves), El Paso (R.D. Worthington 3982, TEX-LL, annotated by M.D. Windham), Brewster (P. Zelazny s.n. 1997, SRSC), Jeff Davis (J.C. Zech et al. 154, SRSC), and Presidio (Turner et al. 2003) cos. in the Trans-Pecos; AZ, CA, CO, NV, NM, OK, TX, and UT; also nw Mexico. Sporulating summer–fall. A collection from Llano Co. (Edwards Plateau) previously identified as C. wootonii (Seigler & Crutchfield 1066A, TEX-LL; Seigler 1977) has since been determined to actually be C. lindheimeri. Recent detailed molecular analysis (able to identify genome source) shows that C. wootonii is an allotriploid resulting from interspecific hybridization between C. fendleri and C. lindheimeri, with C. fendleri being the maternal parent (Grusz et al. 2009). Further, Grusz et al. (2009) have shown that of the three genomes present, two are from C. fendleri and one from C. lindheimeri. It is morphologically similar to C. lindheimeri and particularly to C. yavapensis (Yarborough & Powell 2002); see further discussion under C. yavapensis. Yarborough and Powell (2002) indicated that the species is “rare” in TX. Because of its rareness and limited distribution in the state, we consider it to be of conservation concern in TX.

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