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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 July 28, 2016.

Citation for the whole project: Jepson Flora Project (eds.) 2016. Jepson eFlora,, accessed on July 28, 2016.

Cystopteris fragilis
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© 2006 Steve Matson
Cystopteris fragilis
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© 2005 Steve Matson
Cystopteris fragilis
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© 2008 Christopher L. Christie
Cystopteris fragilis
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© 2009 California Academy of Sciences
Cystopteris fragilis
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© 2008 Keir Morse
Cystopteris fragilis
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© 2014 Julie Kierstead Nelson

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. Yellow markers indicate records that may provide evidence for eFlora range revision or may have georeferencing or identification issues. Purple markers indicate specimens collected from a garden, greenhouse, or other non-wild location.
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.