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FOC | Family List | FOC Vol. 2-3 | Pteridaceae

5. Pteris Linnaeus, Sp. Pl. 2: 1073. 1753.

凤尾蕨属 feng wei jue shu

Authors: Wenbo Liao, Ding Mingyan, Zhaohong Wu, Jefferson Prado & Michael G. Gilbert

Pteris wallichiana

Credit: Harvard University Herbaria

Plants terrestrial. Rhizome erect or ascending (rarely short or prostrate), vascular system a complex solenostele or dictyostele, scaly; scales brown, narrowly lanceolate or linear, membranous, firm. Fronds clustered; stipe deeply grooved adaxially, with one vascular bundle V-shaped in cross section; fronds mostly 1- or 2-pinnate, rarely 3-pinnate (Pteris cryptogrammoides), pedate, or sometimes 3-forked, pinnae entire or pectinately divided into segments, sometimes asymmetrical; basal pinnae often with 1 (or more) pinnule near base on basiscopic side, this similar to main part of pinna but smaller; apical pinnae similar to lateral pinnae; costa or midvein deeply grooved adaxially, often with awns on base of each costa; venation free or areolate, veins simple or 2-forked, if areolate then with regular rows of narrow areoles along costa (sometimes also along segment costules), a few species with veinlike heterocells (false veins) below epidermis (P. cadieri, P. grevilleana, P. multifida, etc.); lamina herbaceous or papery when dried, sometimes subleathery, glabrous or rarely pubescent. Sori linear, along margin, except at base or basal sinus and apex, with paraphyses; annulus consisting of 16-34 incrassate cells; spores trilete (a few species with monolete spores), gray or black, surfaces scabrous or verrucose. x = 29.

About 250 species: distributed in tropical and subtropical areas, southward to New Zealand, Australia, and South Africa, north to Japan and North America; 78 species (35 endemic) in three sections in China.

Of the 78 Chinese species of Pteris, most occur mainly in S and SW China, with a few species in E China south of the Qin Ling.

Apomixis is frequent in Pteris; the gametophytes bud off embryos without fertilization.

Pteris natiensis Tagawa (J. Jap. Bot. 14: 109. 1938) has been recorded in China (Fl. Zhejiang 1: 86. 1986), but Japanese authors consider this species to be endemic to Japan.

Five uncertain taxa, not included in the following keys, are listed at the end of the account.

Uncertain taxa Pteris blumeana C. Agardh (Recens. Spec. Pter. 22. 1839; P. quadriaurita Retzius var. blumeana (C. Agardh) C. B. Clarke), recorded from Yunnan. Pteris hunanensis C. M. Zhang (in W. T. Wang et al., Keys Vasc. Pl. Wuling Mount. 562. 1995), described from Hunan. The image of the type shows a single incomplete frond probably belonging to P. sect. Pteris. Pteris intromissa Christ (Philipp. J. Sci., C, 2: 173. 1907). As well as a number of collections from the Philippines, the protologue mentioned a collection by Henry from China (“Swatow”), but this collection has not been seen. Pteris rufopilosa Ching & Y. X. Lin (Acta Phytotax. Sin. 22: 197. 1984), described from Xizang (Mêdog) and compared with P. austrosinica (Ching) Ching in the protologue. Pteris shimenensis C. M. Zhang (in W. T. Wang et al., Keys Vasc. Pl. Wuling Mount. 561. 1995), described from Hunan.

Key to Pteris sect. Pteris

1 Fronds simple, digitate, or pedate with pinnae clustered at apex of stipe and no discernable main rachis   (2)
+ Fronds 1(-3)-pinnate, lateral pinnae 2 pairs or more, sometimes forked   (25)
2 (1) Fronds digitate or subdigitate, with 5-7(-9) pinnae clustered at apex of stipe and no discernable rachis   (3)
+ Fronds simple or 2- or 3-pinnulate   (11)
3 (2) Margins of sterile pinnae entire.   3 P. stenophylla
+ Margins of sterile pinnae serrate   (4)
4 (3) Mature fronds monomorphic or nearly so   (5)
+ Mature fronds distinctly dimorphic   (8)
5 (4) Stipes castaneous, sometimes margins slightly straw-colored; sterile pinna margins coarsely and acutely serrate.   18 P. plumbea
+ Stipes straw-colored, brownish at base; sterile pinna margins finely serrate   (6)
6 (5) Rhizome long creeping or procumbent; plants 15-40 cm tall; stipes 15-30 cm; pinnae mostly 5-7, digitate.   7 P. dactylina
+ Rhizome erect or ascending; plants 5-15 cm tall; lateral pinnae often one pair and each forked   (7)
7 (6) Terminal pinna linear or linear-lanceolate, acuminate at apex; lateral pinnae each 2 or 3(or 4)-forked into linear-lanceolate pinnules.   9 P. gallinopes
+ Terminal pinna ovate-lanceolate, obtuse at apex; lateral pinnae oblong-obovate, each at base on basiscopic side with an almost freely divided lobe.   35 P. xiaoyingiae
8 (4) Lamina with many false veins between true veins; Taiwan.   22 P. kidoi
+ Lamina without false veins   (9)
9 (8) Fertile pinnules 3-5 mm wide; Taiwan.   21 P. ryukyuensis
+ Fertile pinnules 5-12 mm wide   (10)
10 (9) Margins of rhizome scales sparsely ciliate; widespread but not recorded from Hainan.   19 P. cretica
+ Margins of rhizome scales entire; Hainan.   6 P. morii
11 (2) Base of lamina cordate.   32 P. liboensis
+ Base of lamina tapered, cuneate or subobtuse   (12)
12 (11) Fronds always simple; Hainan.   34 P. changjiangensis
+ Sterile fronds 3-pinnulate, sometimes also simple   (13)
13 (12) Plants often with both simple and 3-forked fronds; Yunnan   (14)
+ Fronds always 3-pinnulate, never simple   (15)
14 (13) Fertile fronds simple or 3-forked; fronds (or pinnae) lanceolate or linear-lanceolate, up to 15 cm; sterile fronds simple or 2-forked; fronds (or pinnae) lanceolate, adaxially without pale green band along costa; SE Yunnan.   1 P. pseudopellucida
+ Fertile fronds simple, narrowly linear, up to 50 cm; sterile fronds 3-forked, pinnae linear, adaxially with distinct pale green band along costa; S Yunnan.   2 P. undulatipinna
15 (13) Terminal pinna sessile or subsessile   (16)
+ Terminal pinna stalked, stalk 1-2(-3) cm   (20)
16 (15) Pinnae broadly lanceolate or lateral pair subovate, 1-2 cm wide   (17)
+ Pinnae linear, 0.3-1 cm wide   (18)
17 (16) Plants 10-25(-40) cm tall; pinnae often 5-8 cm; terminal pinna acuminate (sometimes shortly acuminate); lateral pinnae never lobed.   12 P. deltodon
+ Plants 4-6.5(-7) cm tall; pinnae often 1.5-2.5(-3.1) cm; terminal pinna obtuse at apex; each lateral pinna at base with or without a basiscopic lobe.   35 P. xiaoyingiae
18 (16) Pinna margin entire or slightly undulate; Xizang.   3 P. stenophylla
+ Pinna margin finely toothed or with undulate teeth   (19)
19 (18) Pinna margin finely undulate toothed, veinlets ca. 28 per cm; Taiwan.   4 P. confertinervia
+ Pinna margin denticulate, veinlets ca. 10 per cm.   7 P. dactylina
20 (15) Fronds dimorphic; pinnae 2.5-3.5 cm wide   (21)
+ Fronds monomorphic; pinnae up to 2 cm wide   (23)
21 (20) Fronds obviously dimorphic; sterile lamina with lateral pinnae falcate-ovate to lanceolate, simple; fertile lamina with lateral pinnae simple or forked, linear in outline, caudate toward apex.   12 P. sanduensis (see P. deltodon)
+ Fronds not obviously dimorphic, with ovate-oblong lateral pinnae, simple in both sterile and fertile fronds   (22)
22 (21) Sterile pinnae 2.5-3 cm wide, margins crenulate; terminal pinna of fertile frond subsessile; Hainan.   5 P. crassiuscula
+ Sterile pinnae ca. 3.5 cm wide, margins sparsely serrate; terminal pinna of fertile frond long stalked; Guangdong.   33 P. nanlingensis
23 (20) Terminal pinna broadly lanceolate.   12 P. deltodon
+ Terminal pinna lanceolate   (24)
24 (23) Pinna margins coarsely and acutely serrate; lateral pinnae as long as terminal pinna; rhizome erect, ca. 6 mm thick.   13 P. olivacea
+ Pinna margins serrate only on upper portion, lower parts entire; lateral pinnae shorter than terminal pinna; rhizome prostrate, ca. 3 mm thick.   14 P. baksaensis
25 (1) Fronds 3-pinnate; pinnules 20 or more, 0.5-1.3 cm.   30 P. cryptogrammoides
+ Fronds 1(or 2)-pinnate; pinnules mostly much more than 5 cm, if less then fronds 1-pinnate, pinnules fewer than 10   (26)
26 (25) Lateral pinnae not forked (basal fertile pinnae occasionally with single basiscopic pinnule)   (27)
+ Lateral pinnae forked or basiscopically branched   (39)
27 (26) Lateral pinnae often 30-40 pairs, shorter gradually downward.   28 P. vittata
+ Lateral pinnae less than 16 pairs, not gradually reduced downward   (28)
28 (27) Margins of sterile pinnae entire, ?undulate   (29)
+ Margins of sterile pinnae dentate or serrate   (31)
29 (28) Pinnae shiny and smooth adaxially, pinna margins distinctly pleated.   25 P. venusta
+ Pinnae not shiny or smooth adaxially, pinna margins slightly undulate   (30)
30 (29) Pinnae glabrous.   26 P. insignis
+ Pinnae basal parts and costa sparsely softly hairy.   27 P. menglaensis
31 (28) Sterile pinnae ovate or oblong-lanceolate, margins with rough and acute teeth.   12 P. deltodon
+ Sterile pinnae narrowly linear or linear-lanceolate to lanceolate, margins finely dentate or serrate   (32)
32 (31) Lamina with many false veins between true veins; Taiwan.   22 P. kidoi
+ Lamina without false veins   (33)
33 (32) Sterile pinnae narrowly linear, often 2-4 mm wide.   10 P. henryi
+ Sterile pinnae broadly linear-lanceolate to lanceolate, 9-35 mm wide   (34)
34 (33) Sterile pinnae linear-lanceolate, margins with fine undulate teeth; veinlets very closely spaced, ca. 28 per cm.   4 P. confertinervia
+ Sterile pinnae lanceolate, margins finely dentate; veinlets fewer   (35)
35 (34) Median sterile pinnae 4-6 ?ca. 1 cm.   29 P. ensiformis
+ Median sterile pinnae 9-23 ?1.5-3.5 cm   (36)
36 (35) Stipe glabrous; pinnule margins obtusely serrate   (37)
+ Sterile stipe scaly; pinnule often with conspicuous pale central band, margins irregularly dentate; Taiwan   (38)
37 (36) Fronds herbaceous; Hainan.   6 P. morii
+ Fronds papery; Yunnan.   19 P. cretica
38 (36) Pinnule often with conspicuous pale central band; fertile pinnules ca. 15 mm wide.   20 P. nipponica
+ Pinnule uniformly green; fertile pinnules 3-5 mm wide.   21 P. ryukyuensis
39 (26) Lateral pinnae often with 1-3 basiscopic branches, lowest pair (or basal pairs) often with 2 or 3 branches or subpinnate   (40)
+ Basal pinnae with 1 or 2 basiscopic branches, occasionally second and third pairs with basiscopic branches (rarely to fifth pair)   (43)
40 (39) Lateral pinnae forked; ultimate pinnules of sterile fronds linear, apically long acuminate   (41)
+ Lateral pinnae (especially sterile frond) subpinnate; pinnules of sterile fronds or segments broadly lanceolate or oblong, obtuse, or linear-lanceolate, apically acuminate   (42)
41 (40) Stipe and rachis light straw-colored, glabrous or ?rough.   10 P. henryi
+ Stipe and rachis chestnut-brownish, rough, sometimes glabrous.   11 P. actiniopteroides
42 (40) Apical pinnae decurrent at base forming thin wings along rachises; sterile pinnules linear-lanceolate, apically acuminate.   31 P. multifida
+ Apical pinnae not decurrent on rachises; sterile pinnules broadly lanceolate or oblong, apically obtuse, sometimes acute.   29 P. ensiformis
43 (39) Fronds with 2 pairs of lateral pinnae   (44)
+ Fronds with more than 3 pairs of lateral pinnae, rarely only 3 pairs   (50)
44 (43) Sterile pinnae 2-4(-8) mm wide, margins with narrow, acute teeth   (45)
+ Sterile pinnae 10-20 mm wide   (47)
45 (44) Fertile fronds longer than sterile fronds; lamina hard papery when dry.   8 P. angustipinna
+ Fertile fronds as long as sterile fronds; lamina hard herbaceous when dry   (46)
46 (45) Stipe and rachis slightly straw-colored, glabrous or ?rough.   10 P. henryi
+ Stipe and rachis castaneous-brownish, sometimes glabrous or rough.   11 P. actiniopteroides
47 (44) Margins of sterile pinnae slightly serrate; Hainan.   6 P. morii
+ Margins of sterile pinnae densely and sharply serrate   (48)
48 (47) Stipe and rachis castaneous, midvein brown near base; E and S China.   18 P. plumbea
+ Stipe up to basal part of lamina straw-colored, basal part of midvein abaxially slightly brown-straw-colored or straw-colored   (49)
49 (48) Pinnae narrowly lanceolate, ca. 1 cm wide, shortly acuminate, basal pair with stalk ca. 1 cm.   15 P. quinquefoliata
+ Pinnae lanceolate to broadly lanceolate, acuminate, basal pair sessile or subsessile.   16 P. guangdongensis
50 (43) Pinna margins entire   (51)
+ Pinna margins ?serrate   (53)
51 (50) Pinnae shiny and smooth, margins distinctly pleated.   25 P. venusta
+ Pinnae not shiny or smooth, margins slightly undulate   (52)
52 (51) Apical pinnae with stipes, not decurrent at base; lateral pinnae 6-14 pairs, pinnae fertile only on upper portion, lower pinnae sterile and stalked.   26 P. insignis
+ Apical pinnae decurrent along rachis; lateral pinnae 3 pairs, basal pair sessile, second and third pairs of pinnae with decurrent base along rachis.   24 P. longipinna
53 (50) Apical 2 or 3 pairs or more of lateral pinnae long decurrent at base, forming thin wings along rachises.   31 P. multifida
+ Apical pinnae 3-forked or sometimes adjacent pair of lateral pinnae ?decurrent, rarely not decurrent   (54)
54 (53) Fronds monomorphic, sometimes subdimorphic   (55)
+ Fronds conspicuously dimorphic   (58)
55 (54) Pinnules linear, ca. 3 mm wide; fronds monomorphic, sometimes slightly dimorphic   (56)
+ Pinnules lanceolate to oblong-lanceolate, 1.5-2 cm wide; fronds monomorphic   (57)
56 (55) Stipe and rachis light straw-colored, smooth or ?rough.   10 P. henryi
+ Stipe and rachis castaneous-brownish, rough or sometimes glabrous.   11 P. actiniopteroides
57 (55) Pinnae lanceolate or broadly lanceolate, apically acuminate, basal pinna pair sessile or nearly so; Guangdong.   16 P. guangdongensis
+ Pinnae oblong-lanceolate, apically obtuse, basal pinna pair stalked; Guangxi.   17 P. hui
58 (54) Lamina herbaceous; Guangdong and Hainan   (59)
+ Lamina papery to slightly leathery; E to SW China, not in Hainan   (60)
59 (58) Median sterile pinnae 9-23 ?1.5-2.5 cm.   6 P. morii
+ Median sterile pinnae 4-6 ?ca. 1 cm.   29 P. ensiformis
60 (58) Plants 50-70 cm; sterile pinnae narrowly lanceolate or lanceolate, 1-2 cm wide, papery when dry; stipe always smooth.   19 P. cretica
+ Plants up to 1.5 m; sterile pinnae lanceolate to oblong-lanceolate, 2-5 cm wide, slightly leathery when dry; stipe sometimes with distal part verrucose-tuberculate.   23 P. esquirolii

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