Woodwardia areolata

Woodwardia areolata (L.) T. Moore
(Latin: areolatus, with areolae, divided into distinct spaces, networked, checkered, from areola, diminutive of area, a space, in reference to the veins connecting to form small vein-enclosed spaces)

Local names: narrow-leaf chain fern, netted chain fern, chain fern

Sterile leaves few, 40–58 cm long; pinnae of sterile leaves in 7–12 alternate pairs, 1–2.5 cm wide, the veins anastomosing into 2 or more rows of areoles (= small vein-enclosed areas) between midvein and margin; fertile blades with sori nearly completely covering surface of blade; 2n = 70 (Cranfill 1993b). Low, wet, usually sandy areas; Pineywoods w to Fannin Co. (BRIT) in Red River drainage and Bastrop (W.R. Carr & E.A. Kutac 7741, BRIT), Freestone (BAYLU), Leon (Correll 14177, BRIT), Milam, and Van Zandt (TAES, TEX-LL) cos. near w margin of Post Oak Savannah, and sw to Gonzales Co. (TEX-LL; Fleenor & Tabor 2009); also n edge of Gulf Prairies and Marshes (e.g., Orange Co., R.L. Vines B15722, BRIT; Jefferson Co., Mrs. J.L. Hooks s.n., 3/15/1937, TEX-LL); se Canada and through e U.S. from NH (Kitfield 1974) and NY s to FL w to IL, OK, and TX. Sporulating Mar–Nov. This species has sometimes been segregated into the genus Lorinseria [as L. areolata (L.) C. Presl]. It can rarely produce leaves intermediate between its typical sterile leaves and fertile leaves (Shaver 1970; Thieret 1980). The Gonzales Co. occurrence, which is the southwestern most locality for this widespread species (Cranfill 1983), is in the Ottine wetlands (see note under W. virginica). The sterile leaves superficially resemble those of Onoclea sensibilis, sensitive fern (which has subopposite basal pinnae, the pinnae undulate to irregularly deeply lobed, but with the margins entire), except W. areolata usually has alternate basal pinnae, the pinnae all lacking lobes (pinnae can be sinuate), and with the margins serrulate.

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