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Vascular Plants of California
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Polystichum imbricans subsp. imbricans

Higher Taxonomy
Family: DryopteridaceaeView DescriptionDichotomous Key
Habit: Perennial herb, in soil or rock crevices; rhizome generally short-creeping, suberect, or erect, scales large, generally tan to brown, generally uniformly colored. Leaf: generally tufted, 5--200+ cm, generally +- alike; stipe generally firm, base generally darker, with many vascular strands; blade 1--4-pinnate, often with scales, hair-like scales, hairs (except clear, needle-like hairs generally 0), or short-stalked glands on axes, between veins or not, veins free to netted; rachis, costa generally grooved adaxially. Sporangia: sori round, along veins; indusia peltate or round-reniform; spores elliptic, winged, ridged, or spiny, scar linear.
Genera In Family: +- 40--45 genera, > 1600 species: worldwide, especially tropics, wooded areas. Note: Based on molecular sequence data, Athyrium, Cystopteris, Woodsia removed to Woodsiaceae to preserve a monophyletic Dryopteridaceae.
Unabridged Note: Current data (as reported by Schuettpelz & Pryer and in papers cited therein) suggest that Wooodsiaceae is paraphyletic (with respect to Aspeniaceae, Blechnaceae, and Thelypteridaceae), yet are insufficient to resolve the questions of circumscription (too few taxa, not enough genes sampled). Alternative classifications that would preserve monophyly include recognition of several additional, small families (e.g., Cystopteridaceae, Athyriaceae, and others not in California, each comprising just a few genera) or lumping at least 4 currently recognized families, many of long-standing use and acceptance; a conservative and expedient course is taken for now (Smith et al. 2006), pending further work.
eFlora Treatment Author: Alan R. Smith
Scientific Editor: Thomas J. Rosatti.
Genus: PolystichumView DescriptionDichotomous Key

Common Name: SWORD FERN
Habit: Rhizome generally suberect to erect, often stout. Leaf: stipe stout, firm, generally densely scaly, ×-section with many round vascular strands in an arc; blade 1--3-[> 3--]pinnate, proximal pinnae reduced or not, thin to leathery, scaly, veins generally free, rarely +- jointed; pinna bases often wider acroscopically; teeth, generally including bristle-like tips, < 4 mm [or teeth 0]. Sporangia: sori round; indusium peltate [0 or reniform], sinus 0.
Species In Genus: +- 175+ species: +- worldwide. Etymology: (Greek: many rows, from rows of sori on type sp.)
Species: Polystichum imbricansView Description 

Leaf: stipe generally 1/5--1/2 blade, base scales +- 2--3 mm wide, lanceolate, those above proximal pinnae generally < 1 mm wide, falling early; blade narrow-lanceolate to -elliptic, 1-pinnate. Sporangia: indusium +- entire to toothed. Chromosomes: 2n=82.
Note: Some plants from Butte, Tehama cos. difficult to assign to subsp. Hybridizes with Polystichum dudleyi (forming both sterile diploids and fertile allotetraploids called Polystichum californicum), Polystichum lemmonii (forming fertile allopolyploids called Polystichum scopulinum), Polystichum munitum.
Polystichum imbricans (D.C. Eaton) D.H. Wagner subsp. imbricans
Leaf: 15--50 cm; pinnae often not +- in 1 plane, longest 2--5 cm. Sporangia: sori +- near midvein; indusium +- entire to +- toothed.
Ecology: Shaded or exposed outcrops, banks, slopes, rocky areas; Elevation: 300--2500 m. Bioregional Distribution: KR, NCoR, CaRH, n SNF, SNH, SnFrB, SCoRO, WTR, MP; Distribution Outside California: to British Columbia. Note: Some specimens from northern SNH (Ahart 7561, UC) and KR (Oswald & Ahart 8756, UC), from +- 1100 m, show significant spore malformation and may be hybrids between Polystichum imbricans, Polystichum munitum. Differences between subsp. not always clear in northern and central SN.
Synonyms: Polystichum munitum (Kaulf.) C. Presl subsp. imbricans (D.C. Eaton) Munz; Polystichum munitum subsp. nudatum Ewan
Jepson eFlora Author: Alan R. Smith
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Citation for this treatment: Alan R. Smith 2012, Polystichum imbricans subsp. imbricans, in Jepson Flora Project (eds.) Jepson eFlora,, accessed on October 19, 2019.

Citation for the whole project: Jepson Flora Project (eds.) 2019, Jepson eFlora,, accessed on October 19, 2019.

Polystichum imbricans subsp. imbricans
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© 2008 Keir Morse
Polystichum imbricans subsp. imbricans
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© 2008 Neal Kramer
Polystichum imbricans subsp. imbricans
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© 2016 Steve Matson
Polystichum imbricans subsp. imbricans
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© 2014 Dana York
Polystichum imbricans subsp. imbricans
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© 2012 John Game
Polystichum imbricans subsp. imbricans
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© 2016 Steve Matson

More photos of Polystichum imbricans subsp. imbricans in CalPhotos

Geographic subdivisions for Polystichum imbricans subsp. imbricans:
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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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All markers link to CCH specimen records. The original determination is shown in the popup window.
Blue markers indicate specimens that map to one of the expected Jepson geographic subdivisions (see left map). Purple markers indicate specimens collected from a garden, greenhouse, or other non-wild location.
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CCH collections by month

Duplicates counted once; synonyms included.
Species do not include records of infraspecific taxa, if there are more than 1 infraspecific taxon in CA.
Blue line denotes eFlora flowering time.