Pellaea ovata

Pellaea ovata (Desv.) Weath.
(Latin: ovatus, egg-shaped or ovate, presumably in reference to the shape of the ultimate leaf segments)

Local names: zigzag cliff-brake, ovate-leaf cliff-brake

Plant usually relatively large, 15 cm to 1 m or more tall; rhizome scales with 2 distinct colors, black in center with brown along margins; petioles straw-colored, tan, or gray, not shiny; leaf blades 2–3-pinnate, usually 3-pinnate basally, 15–70 cm long, 5–25 cm wide, monomorphic, pale green; rachis and costae strikingly flexuous (rachis appearing “zigzag”), usually glabrous; pinnae attached to rachis so that their tips point somewhat towards base of leaf; ultimate leaf segments lanceolate-deltate to sometimes almost ovate, apically obtuse to truncate, leathery, glabrous or with sparse pubescence; 2n = 58 (Windham 1993c). Rocky slopes and ledges, including limestone; scattered mainly Trans-Pecos and Edwards Plateau e to Bexar (E.J. Lott & S.P. Rankin 4644, BRIT) and Travis (E. McKinney 043, TEX-LL) cos., also Brown and Palo Pinto (Turner et al. 2003) cos. in the Cross Timbers and Prairies; in the U.S. known only from TX; also Mexico and Central and South America. Sporulating Mar–Nov. [P. flexuosa (Kaulf. ex Schltdl. & Cham.) Link, Pteris ovata Desv.] Populations in the U.S. are sexual diploids; apogamous triploids are reported to predominate other portions of the species’ range south of the U.S. (Tryon 1968; Windham 1993c). The zigzag rachis distinguishes this species from other members of the genus in TX.

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