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Key to families | Table of families and genera

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Ruth E.B. Kirkpatrick, Alan R. Smith & Thomas Lemieux, except as noted

Perennial herb, in soil or on or among rocks; rhizome creeping to erect, scaly. Leaf: generally all ± alike (or of 2 kinds, fertile, sterile), generally < 50 cm, often < 25 cm; stipe generally thin, wiry, often dark, ×-section with vascular strands generally 1–3, less often many in circle; blade generally pinnate or ± palmate-pinnate (see Adiantum), often >= 2-compound, abaxially often with glands, ± powdery exudate, hairs, or scales; segments round, oblong, fan-shaped, or other, veins generally free. Sporangia: in sori or not, marginal, submarginal, or along veins, covered by recurved, often modified segment margins (false indusia) or not; true indusia 0; spores spheric, sides flat or not, scar with 3 radiating branches.
± 40 genera, 500 species: worldwide, especially dry areas. [Windham 1993 FNANM 2:122–186] California members of Cheilanthes moved to the distantly related Myriopteris; Pellaea breweri to be moved as well, from a to-be-redefined Pellaea; traditional, often untenable limits of genera outside California also being clarified using molecular phylogenetics. —Scientific Editors: Alan R. Smith, Thomas J. Rosatti.

Key to Pteridaceae

Plant in soil or rock crevices; rhizome short-creeping-decumbent, generally 3–5(8) mm wide, scales lance-linear, mid-stripe dark. Leaf: stipe 5–20(32) cm, 0.5–2(3) mm wide; blade generally 2–3-pinnate, 2–8(15) cm, triangular or generally 5-sided, with white or yellow exudate abaxially, with exudate or not adaxially, main axis shallowly to deeply grooved adaxially; lowermost pinnae more strongly developed on basal side; veins free. Sporangia: along veins ± throughout; segment margins unmodified, recurved or not.
2 species: western North America. (Greek: 5 lines, for leaf blades) A puzzling complex of intergrading chemical, chromosomal, and morphological variants (see Yatskievych et al. 1990 Amer Fern J 80:9–17).

Key to Pentagramma

P. pallida (Weath.) Yatsk. et al. SILVERBACK FERN
Rhizome tip, including scales, covered with white exudate. Leaf: stipe dark brown to generally ± black, with white exudate; blade 2–8(12) cm, pale to olive green, both surfaces with white exudate; lower pinnae 2–6(8) cm.
2n=60. Generally in or near granitic soil, rock, boulders; 100–1200 m. Cascade Range Foothills, Sierra Nevada, Sacramento Valley(?), Inner South Coast Ranges. [Pityrogramma triangularis (Kaulf.) Maxon var. pallida Weath.] [Online Interchange]
Unabridged note: Expanded author citation: Pentagramma pallida (Weath.) Yatsk., Windham, & E. Wollenw.

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Citation for the whole project: Jepson Flora Project (eds.) 2013. Jepson eFlora,, accessed on Dec 1 2015
Citation for this treatment: [Author of taxon treatment] 2013. Pentagramma, in Jepson Flora Project (eds.) Jepson eFlora,, accessed on Dec 1 2015

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Geographic subdivisions indicated for the distribution of Pentagramma pallida 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.