Monographs Details: Melpomene flabelliformis var. tepuiensis Lehnert
Authority: Lehnert, Marcus. 2013. Grammitid ferns (Polypodiaceae). II. . Fl. Neotrop. Monogr. 112: 1--121. (Published by NYBG Press)
Family:Polypodiaceae
Description:Species Description - Plants epiphytic. Rhizomes horizontal, short- to moderately long-creeping, to 1.5 mm diam. Fronds to 20-28 cm long, erect to ascending, straight, diffusely arranged (internodes 3-10 mm), not caespitose. Rhizome scales to 4.0—5.0 x 1.0—1.2 mm, to 24—26 cells wide across bases, dark brown, strongly iridescent, apical cells 3-8, bifurcately to furcately arranged, ultimate cells often elongate. Petioles 40-80 mm, 0.8 mm thick, marginate to almost terete, sparsely hairy to glabrescent with dark brown setiform hairs 0.5-0.8 mm long. Laminae 180-200 x 5-15 mm, linear-elliptic, proximally cuneate to decurrent, distally long-tapering. Largest segments 4.0-8.0 x 3.0-4.2 mm (1-2 times longer than broad), segments lunate to short-oblong, weakly ascending (70-80°), tips obtuse to weakly truncate, midveins not visible, glabrous except for sori, hydathodes present. Sori 2-3 pairs per segment, with 4-8 setiform/ciliform hairs 0.6-1.0 mm long, clustered in sori.

Discussion:Melpomene flabelliformis var. tepuiensis grows side by side with war. flabelliformis and is equal in size of fronds and rhizome scales. The differences within the populations on the tepuis are minor but notable and are not found in the remaining range of the species. Recognition of the var. tepuiensis is merely pragmatic because the distinguishing characters otherwise are used to separate M. flabelliformis from other species.

In direct comparison, M. flabelliformis var. tepuiensis has more strongly ascending segments (70-80° vs. 80-90°), shorter petioles, and more closely placed fronds than var. flabelliformis from the same site. Further differences are the setiform/ciliform hairs that are usually present between the sori and on rachises of fertile parts in var. flabelliformis and absent in var. tepuiensis, with the hairs being longer in var. flabelliformis than in var. tepuiensis. These characters suggest M. moniliformis rather than M. flabelliformis. The truncate segment tips that occur in var. tepuiensis are more similar to those of M. flagellata and M. wolfii than those of var. flabelliformis, which has round to obtuse segment tips.

Melpomene flabelliformis var. tepuiensis is similar to M. paradoxa, but sometimes has longer segments and fewer hairs in the sori than that species; it also has some truncate segment tips, a character that does not occur in M. paradoxa. Melpomene flabelliformis var. tepuiensis is restricted to Venezuelan tepuis, whereas M. paradoxa occurs in the central Andes.

Melpomene flabelliformis var. tepuiensis resembles M. deltata in habit and segment shape. However, M. deltata is completely glabrous (vs. some hairs in sori and on the petioles in var. tepuiensis) and never has truncate segment tips (vs. segments tips sometimes truncate).

The name obviously refers to the tepuis of Venezuela.
Distribution:Bolívar Venezuela South America|