Description from Flora of China
Scypholepia J. Smith.
Plants terrestrial, medium-sized. Rhizome creeping, siphonostelic, covered with multicellular grayish stiff hairs, without scales. Fronds medium-sized to large, stipe base without articulation, hairy, vertically grooved above; lamina 1-4-pinnately compound, oblong to ovate-oblong; pinnules or lobes slightly oblique, acroscopic pinnule at base larger than basiscopic, usually parallel to rachis or pinna rachis, mostly triangular, rarely lanceolate, usually grayish hispid or with soft hairs, especially on rachis and pinna rachis. Veins free, pinnately branching, veinlets not reaching margin. Sori orbicular, intramarginal (slightly farther from margin), terminal on one veinlet, usually near notch; indusium hemitelioid, fixed at base and both sides, opening toward margin, truncate above, or indusium orbicular-reniform, basifixed; stalk short; annulus erect, cut off by sporangiophore at base. Spore tetrahedral, glabrous or slightly verrucate.
Molecular data (Inouye et al., J. Pl. Res. 117 (Suppl.): 42-43. 2004) suggested that Microlepia marginata includes cryptic species and hybrids. Herbarium collections are often inconsistently named, and it seems that this is a genus in need of revision.
Five doubtful species are included at the end of the account, along with the recently described Microlepia boluoensis, but could not be included in the following key to species.
The following taxa are excluded from the present treatment, pending further research: Microlepia tenella Ching (Fl. Reipubl. Popularis Sin. 2: 365. 1959), described from Guangxi, and M. hirsutissima Hayata (Icon. Pl. Formosan. 5: 301. 1915), described from Taiwan, which was treated as a synonym of M. bipinnata in FRPS (2: 217. 1959).
Microlepia attenuata Ching, Wuyi Sci. J. 1: 1. 1981.
渐狭鳞盖蕨 jian xia lin gai jue
Plants ca. 60 cm tall. Rhizome creeping, densely hairy. Fronds distant; stipe light straw-colored, ca. 23 cm, ca. 1.5 mm in diam., adaxially glabrous; rachillae adaxially glabrous, abaxially densely hairy. Lamina green when dried, bipinnate, oblong-lanceolate in outline, ca. 42 × 6-9 cm at middle, herbaceous, with sparse acicular hairs on veins abaxially, apex acuminate; pinnae 11-14 pairs, alternate, stalked, basally distant, distally adjacent, basal pinnae slightly shorter, lanceolate, falcate, ca. 5 cm, base asymmetrical, apex acuminate, middle pinnae lanceolate, ca. 8 × 1.4 cm, oblique; pinnules ca. 14 pairs, oblong, ca. 7 × 5 mm, acroscopic one larger at base, margin entire or undulate, apex obtuse. Veins adaxially distinct, bifurcate. Sori at tips of lobes; indusium cupular, subglabrous.
See the note under Microlepia pseudostrigosa Makino. We could not locate the type for our study.
Microlepia tripinnata Ching, Fl. Reipubl. Popularis Sin. 2: 367. 1959.
浓毛鳞盖蕨 nong mao lin gai jue
Plants terrestrial, ca. 1.5 m tall. Stipe not seen; lamina yellow-brown when dried, 3-pinnate, ca. 60 × 46 cm, herbaceous, abaxially densely pilose, adaxially sparsely bristly on veins; pinnae many, subopposite below, alternate above, 12-15 cm apart at apex, spreading obliquely upward, 2-pinnate, oblong-lanceolate, lowermost pinnae with stalk ca. 8 mm, ca. 30 × 10 cm, middle pinnae with stalk ca. 5 mm, ca. 25 × 6 cm, base broadly rounded-cuneate, almost symmetrical, apex long acu- minate; secondary pinnae ca. 20 pairs, alternate, anadromous, shortly stalked, 1-pinnate, lanceolate, subfalcate, basal pinnae ca. 4 × 1 cm, base unequal, basiscopically cuneate, acroscopically prominently auriculate and parallel to rachillae, apex shortly acuminate; ultimate pinnules 8 or 9 pairs, remote from each other, spreading obliquely upward, 7-10 × 3-5 mm (suprabasal one largest), base somewhat connate, margin entire, apex obtuse. Pinnae lanceolate toward apex, ca. 10 × 2 cm, shortly stalked, bipinnate, gradually shorter upward. Veins obvious on both surfaces, pinnate in ultimate lobes, 3 or 4 pairs. Sori on base of suprabasal notch, ca. 0.5 mm from margin; indusium deeply cupular, thick, densely pilose.
● Forests. Yunnan.
We could not locate the type of Microlepia tripinnata, so we treat it here as a doubtful species. It was originally keyed out with M. communis Ching, which is here treated as a synonym of M. rhomboidea.
Microlepia ×hirtiindusiata P. S. Wang, Pterid. Fl. Guizhou, 441. 2001.
毛盖鳞盖蕨 mao gai lin gai jue
Plants terrestrial, 74-85 cm tall. Rhizome long and creeping, ca. 3 mm in diam., straw-colored to brownish; stipe and rachis covered with brown, articulate, long, acicular hairs. Fronds distant; stipe 27-37 cm, slightly shiny; lamina brownish green when dried, bipinnate, narrowly ovate, 47-54 × 18-25 cm, herbaceous to thinly papery, both surfaces densely long gray articulate hairy, with sparse short hairs between veins, base not narrowed; pinnae ca. 25 pairs, alternate, spreading, pinnatifid, long acuminate at apex; basal pinnae largest, linear-lanceolate, 11-18 × 2.5-3.5 cm, oblique and broadly cuneate at base, acuminate to long acuminate at apex, pinnate; pinnules 15-20 pairs, alternate, compact, slightly oblique and spreading, obliquely oblong or obliquely rhombiform-ovate, almost sessile below, asymmetrical at base, subtruncate acroscopically, slightly convex to rounded-auriculate or not convex, cuneate basiscopically, narrow wing connected to pinna rachis, blunt or rounded at apex, with irregular serrate teeth at margin, acroscopic pinnule largest at base, usually lobed. Veins pinnate, prominent abaxially. Sori obvious, terminal on veinlets, intramarginal, sporangia abortive; indusium shallowly bowl- or fan-shaped, membranous, with dense, long, articulate hairs.
● Forest margins; ca. 1200 m. Guizhou.
The author Wang noted that this species (Microlepia ×hirtiindusiata) was intermediate between Microlepia marginata and M. pseudostrigosa: lamina bipinnate, indusium hemitelioid with dense long articulate hairs, and sporangia not developed and without spores. Accordingly, this is presumed to be a hybrid.
Microlepia straminea Ching, Fl. Reipubl. Popularis Sin. 2: 364. 1959.
广西鳞盖蕨 guang xi lin gai jue
Plants terrestrial, ca. 1.2 m tall. Rhizome not seen. Stipe dark straw-colored, shiny, ca. 45 cm, ca. 2.5 mm in diam., glabrous; lamina dull green when dried, 3-pinnatipartite, oblong in outline, ca. 60 × 30-35 cm, herbaceous, both surfaces sparsely very shortly villous, apex acuminate; pinnae ca. 15 pairs, alternate, 8-12 cm apart, obliquely spreading, with stalk ca. 3 mm, basal pairs bipinnatifid, lanceolate, 12-15 × 3-4 cm, equal in width at base, apex acuminate, shortly caudate; pinnules 15-18 pairs, shortly stalked, sessile upward, acroscopic pinna longer, 2-2.5 × ca. 1 cm, anadromous, alternate, almost spreading, broadly lanceolate, other pinnules oblong, 1.2-1.8 × 0.6-0.8 cm, base asymmetrical, basiscopically broadly cuneate, decurrent, acroscopically truncate and almost parallel to rachis, pinnatifid nearly to pinna rachis, apex obtuse; ultimate lobes 5 or 6 pairs, obovate, apex rounded and coarsely serrate, compact, basal acroscopic lobes larger and with 2 pairs of lobules, others shallowly divided or not. Pinnae gradually shortened upward, oblong, forked, pinnatilobed, ultimate lobules entire. Sori small, on notch of ultimate lobules; indusium light green, shallowly bowl-shaped, slightly hairy.
● 800-1500 m. ?Guangxi or ?Yunnan.
The type of Microlepia straminea was cited as R. C. Ching 50192. However, we found that R. C. Ching 50192 (PE! KUN!), collected from the location cited in the protologue, is a species of Asteraceae. Another puzzle: the type is from Yunnan, but the Chinese vernacular name means "Guangxi Microlepia fern." Based on the description, M. straminea is close to M. speluncae (Linnaeus) T. Moore.
Microlepia fujianensis Ching, Wuyi Sci. J. 1: 1. 1981.
福建鳞盖蕨 fu jian lin gai jue
Plants ca. 70 cm tall. Stipe straw-colored, ca. 28 cm, ca. 2 mm in diam., glabrous above. Lamina green, 2-pinnate, ovate, ca. 40 × 36 cm, base narrowed, apex acuminate; pinnae ca. 15 pairs, subopposite, adjacent, obliquely spreading, with stalk ca. 5 mm, pinnate, lanceolate, basal pinnae shorter, ca. 11 cm, largest pinnae to ca. 17 × 4.5 cm, herbaceous, adaxially glabrous, hairy on veins, base asymmetrical, apex acuminate; pinnules ca. 20 pairs, adjacent, pinnatifid, lanceolate, ca. 2.4 × 1 cm, base asymmetrical, basiscopically cuneate, acroscopically truncate, apex subacuminate; acroscopic lobes 4 or 5, dentate at apex. Sori intramarginal; indusium hemitelioid, subglabrous.
Microlepia fujianensis is only known from the type specimen from Taining, Fujian, which we have not seen. It is evidently very close to M. substrigosa, but in M. fujianensis the rachis is strigose; the pinnules apically acuminate, with the upper margin deeply incised, the apex of the lobes dentate; and the indusium hemitelioid.
About 60 species: tropics and subtropics; 25 species (eight endemic) in China; five additional species (all endemic) are doubtful.
(Authors: Yan Yuehong (严岳鸿), Qi Xinping (齐新萍); Shunshuke Serizawa)