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FNA | Family List | FNA Vol. 2 | Blechnaceae

1. Blechnum Linnaeus, Sp. Pl. 2: 1077. 1753; Gen. Pl. ed. 5, 485, 1754.

Deer ferns [Greek blechnon, an ancient name for ferns in general]

Clifton E. Nauman

Plants terrestrial or rarely on rock. Stems creeping to ascending or erect, slender to stout, sometimes climbing [rarely subarborescent]; scales brown or black. Leaves monomorphic or variously dimorphic, cespitose to scattered. Blades pinnatifid to 1-pinnate, rarely simple or 2-pinnate. Rachis and costae glabrous, scaly, or hairy abaxially. Veins free, often forked. Sori borne on vascular commissures parallel to costae, 1 per side, normally uninterrupted, linear, continuous along length of costa. Spores with perine smooth to variously winged or rugose. x = 28, 29, 31, 32, 34, 36.

Species ca. 220 (3 in the flora): mostly tropical, especially Southern Hemisphere.

1 Leaves strongly dimorphic, fertile leaves notably more erect, longer, and with narrower pinnae than sterile leaves; sterile blades tapering at base.   1 Blechnum spicant
+ Leaves ± monomorphic, fertile leaves only slightly longer and somewhat contracted relative to sterile leaves; sterile blades ± truncate at base.   (2)
2 (1) Blades 1-pinnate proximally and pinnatifid distally or pinnatifid nearly throughout, usually less than 50 cm; pinna margins ± entire.   2a var. minor
+ Blades 1-pinnate throughout, usually more than 50 cm; pinna margins ± evenly serrulate.   3 Blechnum serrulatum

Lower Taxa


Related Objects  

Trees and shrubs of the Andes of Ecuador  
  • Blechnum sp
  • Image/JPEG

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