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Alan R. Smith

Perennial herb, in soil or rock crevices; rhizome generally short-creeping, suberect, or erect, scales large, generally tan to brown, generally uniformly colored. Leaf: generally tufted, 5–200+ cm, generally ± alike; stipe generally firm, base generally darker, with many vascular strands; blade 1–4-pinnate, often with scales, hair-like scales, hairs (except clear, needle-like hairs generally 0), or short-stalked glands on axes, between veins or not, veins free to netted; rachis, costa generally grooved adaxially. Sporangia: sori round, along veins; indusia peltate or round-reniform; spores elliptic, winged, ridged, or spiny, scar linear.
± 40–45 genera, > 1600 species: worldwide, especially tropics, wooded areas. [Schuettpelz & Pryer 2007 Taxon 56:1037–1050; Smith et al. 2006 Taxon 55:705–731] Based on molecular sequence data, Athyrium, Cystopteris, Woodsia removed to Woodsiaceae to preserve a monophyletic Dryopteridaceae. —Scientific Editor: Thomas J. Rosatti.
Unabridged references: [Smith, A.R. et al. 2006. A classification for extant ferns. Taxon 55:705–731; Schuettpelz, E. and K.M. Pryer 2007. Fern phylogeny inferred from 400 leptosporangiate species and three plastid genes. Taxon 56: 1037–1050.]
Unabridged note: Current data (as reported by Schuettpelz & Pryer and in papers cited therein) suggest that Wooodsiaceae is paraphyletic (with respect to Aspeniaceae, Blechnaceae, and Thelypteridaceae), yet are insufficient to resolve the questions of circumscription (too few taxa, not enough genes sampled). Alternative classifications that would preserve monophyly include recognition of several additional, small families (e.g., Cystopteridaceae, Athyriaceae, and others not in California, each comprising just a few genera) or lumping at least 4 currently recognized families, many of long-standing use and acceptance; a conservative and expedient course is taken for now (Smith et al. 2006), pending further work.

Key to Dryopteridaceae

Rhizome short-creeping or ascending to suberect, stout. Leaf: stipe > 1.5 mm wide, firm, more densely scaly than midrib, base ×-section with many round vascular strands in an arc; blade >= 1–3-pinnate, proximal pinnae reduced or not, veins free, simple or forked; segments deeply pinnately lobed or not. Sporangia: sori round; indusium round-reniform, ± centrally attached at a sinus, generally persistent.
± 100 species: ± worldwide, especially eastern Asia. (Greek: oak, fern) Hybrids unknown in California, frequent in eastern North America.
Unabridged references: [Montgomery & Paulton 1981 Fiddlehead Forum 8:25–31]

Key to Dryopteris

D. arguta (Kaulf.) Maxon
Leaf: 30–60(100+) cm, 12–18(30) cm wide; stipe, midrib minutely glandular; blade lanceolate, 1–2-pinnate, proximal pinnae <= others, longest generally near blade base, sides ± equal, basiscopic pinnules 1–1.3 × acroscopic on same pinna, segments deeply pinnately lobed or not, teeth with bristle-like tips or not, veins into teeth; scales of pinna midribs lance-ovate to ± lanceolate.
2n=82. Locally common. Open, wooded slopes, caves; < 2500 m. Northwestern California, Sierra Nevada, Sacramento Valley (Sutter Buttes), Central Western California, Southwestern California, Modoc Plateau (caves in Lava Beds National Monument), s Mojave Desert; to British Columbia, Arizona. [Online Interchange]

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Citation for the whole project: Jepson Flora Project (eds.) 2013. Jepson eFlora,, accessed on Nov 26 2015
Citation for this treatment: [Author of taxon treatment] 2013. Dryopteris, in Jepson Flora Project (eds.) Jepson eFlora,, accessed on Nov 26 2015

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click for enlargement Dryopteris arguta
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Charles Webber 1998 California Academy of Sciences

Geographic subdivisions indicated for the distribution of Dryopteris arguta Markers link to CCH specimen records. If the markers are obscured, reload the page [or change window size and reload]. Yellow markers indicate records that may provide evidence for eFlora range revision or may have georeferencing or identification issues.
map of distribution 1
(Note: any qualifiers in the taxon distribution description, such as 'northern', 'southern', 'adjacent' etc., are not reflected in the map above, and in some cases indication of a taxon in a subdivision is based on a single collection or author-verified occurence).

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CCH collections by month

Duplicates counted once; synonyms included.
Species do not include records of infraspecific taxa.
Blue line denotes eFlora flowering time.