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FNA | Family List | FNA Vol. 2 | Blechnaceae

2. Woodwardia Smith, 5: 411. 1793 Chain fern [in honor of Thomas Jenkin. 1745.

Chain fern [in honor of Thomas Jenkin 1820, English botanist]

Raymond B. Cranfill

Anchistea C. Presl; Lorinseria C. Presl

Plants terrestrial or rarely on rock. Stems long-creeping to erect, slender to stout, not climbing; scales brown. Leaves monomorphic (dimorphic in 1 species), clustered or well separated. Blades pinnate or pinnatifid. Rachises and costae scaly. Veins anastomosing in both sterile and fertile leaves, forming a regular series of areoles along costae and costules, further anastomosing in 1 species. Sori discrete, in chainlike rows along costae or costules, extending only the length of individual areolar veins. Spores with perine irregularly folded. x = 34, 35.

Species 14 (3 in the flora): North America, Central America, Mediterranean Europe, e Asia.

Woodwardia radicans (Linnaeus) Smith has been reported as an escape from cultivation in Florida and in the Sierra Nevada in California; it has not persisted. It and the commonly cultivated Woodwardia unigemmata Makino resemble Woodwardia fimbriata Smith, but both W . radicans and W . unigemmata are distinguished by having a scaly bulblet near the apex of the leaf.

1 Leaves strongly dimorphic; sterile blades ± pinnatifid, with 2 or more rows of areoles between costae and margin, veins free only at margin.   1 Woodwardia areolata
+ Leaves ± monomorphic; sterile blades pinnate, with 1 row of areoles adjacent to costae or costules, veins free to margin.   (2)
2 (1) Stems forming stout caudex covered with petiole bases, suberect; petioles straw-colored and densely covered with orangish scales at base; pinnae not articulate to rachis.   3 Woodwardia fimbriata
+ Stems relatively slender to ca. 1 cm diam., long- creeping; petioles blackish and glabrate at base; pinnae articulate to rachis.   2 Woodwardia virginica

Lower Taxa


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