(Wood fern Family)
Phanerophlebia auriculata Underwood
Mexican holly fern
( Fertile tetraploid)
This fern, like Cystopteris reevesiana is often found growing in soil, unusual for ferns. It is only seen occasionally in New Mexico. Several collections have been made in the Organ Mountains of Dona Ana County, one in the San Mateo Mountains of Socorro County, and one in the Animas Mountains of Hidalgo County. It has appeared at a few locations near Silver City. The sori of P. auriculata have true indusia which are orbicular and peltate. The generic epithet translates to "visible veins", which is indeed the case. This may account for the paucity of collections. Unless sporulating, this plant, with its holly-like, well-veined leaves is extremely difficult to recognize as a fern.
Ben Moore Mountain near Santa Rita, Grant County 8 November 1995