Dryopteris ludoviciana

Dryopteris ludoviciana (Kunze) Small
(of Louisiana, where the species was first discovered)

Local names: southern wood fern, Louisiana wood fern

Rhizomes short-creeping, stout; leaves somewhat dimorphic, evergreen; petioles > ¼ length of total leaf, scaly at base, the scales brown; leaf blades 1-pinnate-pinnatifid, lanceolate, 25–90(–150) cm long, herbaceous, the basal pinnae much reduced, basal basiscopic pinnule slightly longer than basal acroscopic pinnule; fertile pinnae in distal 1⁄2 of leaf blade; segments of fertile pinnae distinctly narrower than those of sterile pinnae, often more widely spaced, and sometimes contracted at base; sori midway between midvein and margin of ultimate leaf segments; 2n = 82 (Montgomery & Wagner 1993). Swamps and wet woods; Hardin (G.E. Watson s.n., 1971, TEX—first confirmed collection for TX; Correll 1972a), Jasper (S.L. Orzell & E.L. Bridges 5942, BRIT, MO, TEX-LL), and Polk (Orzell, Bridges, & G. Watson 5768, BRIT, MO, TEX-LL) cos. in the Pineywoods; endemic to the se U.S. in AL, AR, FL, GA, LA, NC, SC, and TX. In 1956 Correll said, “This species was reported by Reverchon (1903) as having been collected by J.M. Fetherolf in Newton County in the Timber Belt. It was also reported from TX by Cory and Parks (1937). I have not seen any specimens of this species west of East Baton Rouge Parish, Louisiana.” Correll (1972a) subsequently reported it for TX. This diploid species is endemic to the se U.S. (Montgomery & Wagner 1993), most collections being from the extreme southeast with outliers in AR (Peck 2011a), LA, and TX. Sporulating spring–fall. [Aspidium ludovicianum Kunze; Thelypteris ludoviciana of authors] This species is one of the parents of D. celsa; it is also reported to cross with D. celsa resulting in sterile hybrids (Werth et al. 1988; Montgomery & Wagner 1993). Weakley (2010) noted that it is “one of the diploid ‘parent species’ of the e. North American reticulately-evolved Dryopteris complex” and is involved in the origin of at least three other species. Because of its rareness and limited distribution in the state, we consider this species to be of conservation concern in TX. (TOES 1993: IV)

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