(Wood fern Family)

Cystopteris reevesiana Lellinger

Southwestern brittle fern

( Fertile diploid)
Unlike many ferns, this fern is often found growing in dirt. With its bright green herbaceous blade, this fern could easily be mistaken at a casual glance for some common flowering plant. More importantly, ferns in this genus can be difficult to separate from the genus Woodsia, particularly W. neomexicana. The sori of fertile plants in Cystopteris have an indusium of a complete scale, like a clamshell, curving over the sori, while in the genus Woodsia the indusia are broken into several segments. With infertile specimens, the two genera can be separated by the nature of the veins in the pinnules. In Cystopteris, the veins are obvious and extend fully to the margins, while in Woodsia the veins are more obscure and end in swollen whitish nodules called hydathodes well short of the margins. The pinnule margins of C. reevesiana are smooth, lacking the translucent projections seen in Woodsia neomexicana.

Pinos AltosRange, Grant County     18 September 1991