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PTERIDACEAE

BRAKE FAMILY

Alan R. Smith and Thomas Lemieux

Perennial, in soil or on or among rocks; rhizome creeping to erect, scaly
Leaves generally all ± alike (or of 2 kinds, fertile and sterile), generally < 50 cm, often < 25 cm; petiole generally thin, wiry, often dark, in transverse section with vascular strands generally 1–3, less often many in a circle; blade generally pinnate or ± palmate-pinnate (see Adiantum ), often 2 or more compound, lower surface often with glands, ± powdery exudate, hairs, or scales; segments round, oblong, fan-shaped, or otherwise, veins generally free
Sporangia in sori or not, marginal, submarginal, or along veins, sometimes covered by recurved, often modified segment margins (false indusia); true indusia 0; spores spheric, sides sometimes flat, scar with 3 radiating branches
Genera in family: ± 40 genera, 500 species: worldwide, especially dry areas. Definition of Cheilanthes and related genera problematic; traditional limits often untenable.

PELLAEA

CLIFF-BRAKE

Plant in soil or rock crevices; rhizome short- to long-creeping, scales overlapping, narrowly linear, light- to reddish or medium-brown, often with darker mid-stripe
Leaves erect, persistent, < 1 m; petioles ± cylindric, generally dark or reddish brown to blackish, ± shiny, glabrous; blade 1–4-pinnate; segments generally stalked, generally free, linear to rounded, lobed or not, often folded lengthwise when dried; veins generally free
Sporangia in ± continuous, submarginal bands, among a whitish to yellowish exudate or not; segment margin generally recurved, generally modified; spores tan to light yellow
Species in genus: ± 35 species: tropical, temp, few in Eur, 0 in Asia
Etymology: (Greek: dusky, from bluish gray leaves)
Reference: [Tryon 1957 Ann Missouri Bot Gard 44(2):125–193]
Not commonly cultivated.

Native

P. mucronata (D.C. Eaton) D.C. Eaton

BIRD'S-FOOT FERN

Rhizome short-creeping, branched, > 8 cm, 0.5–1 cm wide; scales brownish with darker mid-stripe
Leaves ± clustered, greenish to purplish; petiole < 2(3) mm wide; blade 2–3(4)-pinnate, narrowly triangular to oblong; segments 2–6(8) mm, 0.5–2(4) mm wide, linear to oblong, with a small point at tip
Sporangia 64-spored
Chromosomes: 2n=58
Ecology: Rocky or dry areas
Elevation: 20–3000 m.
Bioregional distribution: North Coast Ranges, Cascade Range, Sierra Nevada, Great Central Valley (Sutter Buttes), Central Western California, Southwestern California, East of Sierra Nevada, Desert Mountains
Distribution outside California: Baja California
Hybrids with P. bridgesii (P. X glaciogena W. Wagner, A.R. Sm. & T.R. Pray) are common, those with P. brachyptera , P. truncata less so.

Native

var. mucronata


Leaf 20–40(60) cm, 5–15 cm wide; blade 2–3(4)-pinnate; 1° leaflets not overlapping, generally ± spreading to widely ascending; fertile segments not appearing folded in half, recurved margins not meeting, lower surface therefore visible
Ecology: Habitat of sp.
Elevation: 20–2400 m.
Bioregional distribution: North Coast Ranges, Cascade Range, Sierra Nevada, Great Central Valley (Sutter Buttes), Central Western California, Southwestern California, Desert Mountains
Distribution outside California: Baja California
Horticultural information: DRN, DRY: 2, 7, 9 , 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 23, 24; DFCLT.

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