172. Polystichum leveillei C. Christensen, Bull. Acad. Int. Géogr. Bot. 23: 143. 1913.
莱氏耳蕨 lai shi er jue
Type: China. Guizhou: Tatsing [Luodian Xian], alt. 630 m, Sep 1910, J. H. Esquirol 2223 (lectotype, designated here, NY! [barcode 00128155]; isolectotypes, BM! [barcode 001048675], UC! [barcode 394190]; fragments of type material, PE!).
Plants evergreen. Rhizome ascending, short, ca. 8 mm in diam. including stipe bases. Fronds few, 9-35(-40) cm; stipe stramineous, 6-16 cm, slender, 0.6-0.9 mm in diam. at base; basal stipe scales sparse, dark brown, lanceolate and subulate, membranous, margins irregularly ciliate; distal stipe scales sparser. Lamina 1-pinnate, yellowish green or green, adaxially shiny, narrowly elliptic-lanceolate, 7-22 × 3-8 cm at middle, slightly contracted toward base, 1.5-3 cm wide at base, acute; rachis stramineous, without proliferous bulbils, sparsely scaly; scales similar to stipe scales but smaller. Pinnae 8-12 pairs, alternate, approximate by a distance equal to or narrower than pinna width, rarely approximate, ascendant, sometimes lower pairs angled slightly basiscopically, stalked, oblong, deltoid, deltoid-lanceolate, or ovate, middle pairs 2.6-4.5 × 1-1.6 cm, basalmost pairs 1.5-3.4 cm × 1-1.3 mm, margins irregularly lobed, incised to pinnatisect with free lobes, apices obtuse; acroscopic margins forming a 60° angle with rachis, basiscopic margins forming a 120° angle with rachis. Lobes 0-3 pairs, obovate, bases broadly cuneate, apices acute or acuminate; basal acroscopic lobes obviously largest, free or nearly free, other lobes not free, margins repand, without teeth or spinules; adaxially glabrous, abaxially sparsely scaly; microscales light brown, nearly linear; frond texture thickly papery. Sori small, ca. 1 mm in diam., terminal on veinlets, closer to lobe or pinna margin; indusia small, slightly erose.
● Limestone cliffs or floors at cave mouths; ca. 600 m. C and S Guizhou (Luodian, Ziyun).
The record for Polystichum leveillei in FRPS (5(2): 175. 2001) was based on material of the separate, newly described species, P. normale. Polystichum normale and P. leveillei are indeed similar in pinna form. However, P. normale often has extraordinarily prolonged basalmost pinnae, is a member of P. sect. Crucifilix, grows in (sandstone) acidic soils, and occurs in S Chongqing, NE and SE Guizhou (but not in S Guizhou), and NW Hunan, while P. leveillei does not have extraordinarily prolonged basalmost pinnae, is a member of P. sect. Haplopolystichum, grows in (limestone) basic soils, and occurs in S Guizhou only.
Although often cited as a homotypic synonym of Polystichum leveillei, Hemesteum leveillei Christ (in Léveillé, Fl. Kouy-Tchéou, 497. 1915; cited as "Hemesteum leveillei (C. Christensen) H. Léveillé" in FRPS 5(2): 175. 2001) did not include the type specimen of P. leveillei (J. Esquirol 2223), which instead was cited by H. Léveillé for H. obliquum (loc. cit.: 498). This suggests that H. Léveillé considered H. leveillei Christ and P. leveillei C. Christensen to be different species.
The diagnostic characters of Polystichum leveillei include its slender stipe, thin but hard pinnae often with 1 or more free lobes, and complete absence of teeth or spinules on lobe.