134. Polystichum normale Ching ex P. S. Wang & Li Bing Zhang, Novon. 22: 250. 2012.
渝黔耳蕨 yu qian er jue
Plants evergreen. Rhizome ascending or erect, short, 0.5-2 cm; scales light brown to brown, ovate-lanceolate, 3-4 mm, papery; roots dark brown to brown when dry, up to 7 cm, 0.2-0.3 mm in diam., sparsely covered with hairlike scales. Fronds 4-7 per rhizome, (11-)16-33 cm; stipe green, stramineous when dry, (4-)6-17 cm, (0.4-)0.7-2.6 mm in diam. at middle; basal stipe scales dull, ovate-lanceolate, 5-7 × 1.2-1.5 mm, varying in size, thinly papery and brown at middle, membranous and light brown on margin, entire, acuminate or caudate; distal stipe scales similar but narrower and shorter toward rachis apex, light brown, dull, lanceolate or ovate-lanceolate, membranous, ciliate, caudate. Lamina 1-pinnate, lanceolate, (6-)9-27 × 1.9-3.3 cm at middle, slightly contracted toward base, acuminate; rachis 0.7-1.3 mm in diam. at middle, without proliferous bulbils; scales light brown, dull, 1.5-3 × 0.3-0.7 mm at base, varying in size, membranous, margins ciliate, apices caudate. Pinnae 14-28 pairs, approximate, angled acroscopically, basalmost pairs simple, pinnatifid or 1-pinnate, 8-35 × 3.5-12 mm, basal two pairs 0.7-1.4 cm apart, alternate, green, oblong to rectangular, middle pinnae 9-17 × 3.5-7.2 mm, shortly stalked, stalks ca. 1.2 mm; acroscopic base auriculate, basiscopic base truncate and often forming a (90°-)100°-110° angle with rachis, apices acute or rounded but mucronate; acroscopic margins repand-serrate; abaxially scaly, adaxially glabrous; microscales on abaxial surface subulate without dilated base (narrow-type microscales), 0.1-0.23 mm, base 0.05-0.1 mm wide; frond texture papery; venation pinnate; midrib abaxially slightly raised, adaxially flat and invisible; lateral veins free, 4-7 pairs from midrib per pinna, each lateral vein further dichotomous, indistinct on both surfaces. Sori terminal on veins of pinnae, (1-)4-8 per fertile pinna, between midrib and pinna margin and 0.7-2.2 mm distant from pinna margin; all pinnae on fertile lamina fertile; indusia brown, 0.6-0.8 mm in diam., membranous, erose. Spores dark brown when fresh, circular in polar view, elliptic in equatorial view, ca. 50.5 × 41.3 µm (polar axis × equatorial axis); perispore sculpturing irregularly perforate with few ridges and numerous spinules.
● Thick acidic soils derived from sandstone in forests, shaded places in valleys; 600-1900 m. S Chongqing, NE and SE Guizhou, NW Hunan.
Polystichum normale is similar to P. tripteron and P. hancockii. Polystichum normale is distinguished from P. tripteron by its toothed, oblong or almost rectangular pinnae with acute apices and its basal pinnae that are simple, pinnatifid, or 1-pinnate. The basalmost pinnae of P. normale are almost as long as to twice as long as the median pinnae. In contrast, P. tripteron has coarsely serrate and falcate-lanceolate pinnae with acuminate apices and basal pinnae ca. six times as long as the median pinnae.
Polystichum normale differs from P. hancockii in having sori closer to the pinna margins (vs. slightly closer to the midrib) and indusia larger, 0.6-0.8 mm in diam. (vs. only 0.3-0.4 mm). In addition, the basal pinnae of P. normale can be simple or pinnatifid or 1-pinnate, while those of P. hancockii are consistently 1-pinnate (at least some laminae on any given plant of P. hancockii have 1-pinnate basal pinnae).
Material of Polystichum normale was included in P. leveillei in FRPS (5(2): 175. 2001). Genuine P. leveillei has simple basal pinnae and thin stipes and is a calciphilous member of P. sect. Haplopolystichum s.s. occurring in karst caves in S Guizhou (Luodian and Ziyun).