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Cystopteris fragilis

Higher Taxonomy
Family: WoodsiaceaeView DescriptionDichotomous Key

Habit: Perennial herb in soil or rock crevices; rhizome generally short-creeping, ascending, or erect, scales small to large, generally tan to brown, generally uniformly colored. Leaf: generally tufted or short-spaced, 5--200+ cm, generally +- alike; stipe firm or fleshy (easily crushed), base darker or not, with 2 vascular strands; blade generally 1--3-pinnate, +- glabrous or with hairs, hair-like scales, or gland-tipped hairs on axes, veins generally free (or netted); rachis, costa generally grooved adaxially. Sporangia: sori round, oblong, J-shaped, or linear along veins; indusia 0 or oblong, J-shaped, reniform, or linear, or of many segmented hair- or scale-like fragments or lobes encircling sorus from below; spores elliptic, winged, ridged, or spiny, scar linear.
Genera In Family: +- 15 genera, 700 species: worldwide, especially tropics, wooded areas, but some genera (e.g., Cystopteris, Woodsia) generally temperate. Note: See note, reference (Smith et al. 2006 Taxon 55:705--731) under Dryopteridaceae for removal of genera from that family to this.
eFlora Treatment Author: Alan R. Smith, except as noted
Scientific Editor: Thomas J. Rosatti.
Genus: CystopterisView Description 

Habit: Rhizome generally short-creeping. Leaf: stipe +- fleshy, often with few scales, base ×-section with 2 vascular strands; blade 2--4-pinnate, pinnae sides unequal, acroscopic pinnules more spreading, larger, more incised; veins free. Sporangia: sori round; indusia hood-like, arched over sorus, attached on side away from margin, often obscure in mature sori.
Species In Genus: +- 20 species: generally temperate, a few at high elevations in tropics. Etymology: (Greek: bladder fern, from indusia) Note: Often confused with Woodsia (pinnae sides equal; more fragmented indusia encircling sorus base). Sole sp. of Cystopteris in California highly polymorphic, may represent a sp. complex. Malformed spores produced by some pls, possibly indicative of hybridization, existence of different ploidal levels (numbers of chromosome sets).

Cystopteris fragilis (L.) Bernh.
Habit: Rhizome 2--4 mm diam; scales at tip, lanceolate, +- brown, shining, glabrous, entire. Leaf: 8--30(37) cm; stipe generally < blade, < 1.5 mm wide, glabrous, base straw-colored to red-brown; blade generally 10--24 cm, 3--9 cm wide, lance-ovate, lowest 2--4 pinnae +- < others. Sporangia: indusia generally +- white. Chromosomes: 2n=168.
Ecology: Shady, moist rock crevices, meadows, streamsides; Elevation: 50--4100 m. Bioregional Distribution: KR, NCoR, CaR, n&c SNF, SNH, Teh, SnFrB, SCoR, n ChI (Santa Cruz Island), TR, PR, GB, DMtns; Distribution Outside California: worldwide.
eFlora Treatment Author: Alan R. Smith
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botanical illustration including Cystopteris fragilis


Citation for this treatment: Alan R. Smith 2016. Cystopteris fragilis, in Jepson Flora Project (eds.) Jepson eFlora,, accessed on February 11, 2016.

Citation for the whole project: Jepson Flora Project (eds.) 2016. Jepson eFlora,, accessed on February 11, 2016.

Cystopteris fragilis
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© 2015 Julie Kierstead Nelson
Cystopteris fragilis
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© 2009 California Academy of Sciences
Cystopteris fragilis
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© 2006 Steve Matson
Cystopteris fragilis
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© 2006 Steve Matson
Cystopteris fragilis
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© 2008 Keir Morse
Cystopteris fragilis
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© 2005 Steve Matson

More photos of Cystopteris fragilis in CalPhotos

Geographic subdivisions for Cystopteris fragilis:
KR, NCoR, CaR, n&c SNF, SNH, Teh, SnFrB, SCoR, n ChI (Santa Cruz Island), TR, PR, GB, DMtns;
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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Data provided by the participants of the Consortium of California Herbaria.
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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.