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John C. Game, Alan R. Smith & Thomas Lemieux

Plant terrestrial; rhizome hairy [scaly], from bud near stipe base or not. Leaf: alike, glabrous or hairy (scaly); stipe strongly grooved adaxially; blade generally 1–5-pinnate; veins pinnate from midrib, generally forked beyond, free except sometimes at margin of fertile segments. Sporangia: at or near margin, generally ± covered by false indusia; true indusium 0 or inner, linear [conical or cup-, purse- or saucer-like], opening toward margin [or fused with it to form cup]; stalk cells in 1–3 rows; spores spheric or elliptic.
± 11 genera, ± 170 species: especially tropics. [Smith et al. 2006 Taxon 55:705–731] Variously defined, now to exclude some previously included genera, species (Smith et al. 2006); Pteridium sometimes in its own family. —Scientific Editors: Alan R. Smith, Thomas J. Rosatti.
Unabridged references: [Smith et al. 2006. A classification for extant ferns. Taxon 55:705–731]

Rhizome generally deep, long-creeping, branched; often forming dense stands; dead leaves persistent; scales 0. Leaf: stipe ± black near base, with dense, ± brown hairs, straw-colored above, ± glabrous; blade 2–4-pinnate, abaxially generally hairy; pinnae with nectaries in axils or not; veins free except at margin of fertile segments. Sporangia: generally continuous except at sinuses, on vein tips and veins connecting vein tips, ± covered by false indusium (sterile segment margins similarly modified); true indusium inconspicuous or 0; spores spheric.
± 5 species: temperate, tropics. (Greek: small fern) [Tryon 1941 Contr Gray Herb 134:1–31, 37–67] Often considered (e.g., by Tryon) to comprise 1 ± worldwide, highly variable sp., but especially in tropics, subtrops, species seem distinct. Plants belonging to this genus are among the most common, wide-ranging in the world, are often invasive, and regenerate quickly and vigorously after fires.

P. aquilinum (L.) Kuhn var. pubescens Underw.
Leaf: arched; stipe 10–100 cm; blade generally 15–150 cm, widely-triangular, leathery, generally 3-pinnate below, lower pinnae generally longest, ± 45° from axis; segments or lobes generally 0.5–2 cm, 3–6 mm wide, oblong, round at tip, hairs abaxially, sometimes adaxially, generally dense, straight or ± kinked, clear.
Pastures, woodland, meadows, hillsides, partial to full sun; < 3200 m. California Floristic Province (except Great Central Valley), Warner Mountains; to Alaska, South Dakota, northwestern Mexico; also eastern Canada, northeastern United States. TOXIC in quantity to livestock, humans; cooking removes some toxins, but carcinogens may remain. Other varieties in eastern United States, Mexico, Eurasia, Africa, Pacific. [Online Interchange]

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Citation for the whole project: Jepson Flora Project (eds.) 2013. Jepson eFlora,, accessed on Nov 28 2015
Citation for this treatment: [Author of taxon treatment] 2013. Pteridium, in Jepson Flora Project (eds.) Jepson eFlora,, accessed on Nov 28 2015

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Geographic subdivisions indicated for the distribution of Pteridium aquilinum var. pubescens 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.