Monographs Details: Melpomene personata Lehnert
Authority: Lehnert, Marcus. 2013. Grammitid ferns (Polypodiaceae). II. . Fl. Neotrop. Monogr. 112: 1--121. (Published by NYBG Press)
Description:Species Description - Plants predominatly epiphytic, rarely epilithic, growing in moss layers. Rhizomes horizontal, moderately to long-creeping, 0.8-1.2(-l.5) mm diam. Fronds 14-33 cm long, stiffly pendent, inserted onto the rhizome at right angles, diffusely arranged (internodes 3-10 mm). not caespitose. Rhizome scales (2.0-)3.0-4.5(-6.0) x (0.3-)0.4-1.0 mm, (8-)10-14(-22) cells wide across bases, clathrate, dark brown to brown, iridescent, narrowly lanceate, bases cordate, tips long-acute to attenuate, apical cells 1-3, linearly arranged or 2-5 cells furcately arranged. Petioles 20-150 mm long, 0-6(—0.8) mm thick, terete or weakly marginate from lowest segments, with a few to many, dark brown, setiform/ciliform hairs 0.9-2.0 mm long; simple and branched clavate hairs of crosiers and young fronds sometimes persistent on older fronds. Laminae to 155-180(-220) x 26(-40) mm (2/3 to 3/4 of frond length, rarely less in single fronds of a plant), broadly linear to narrowly elliptic (broadest in the middle), bases cuneate to shortly decurrent, apices long-acute. Rachises dark brown to black, planar and slightly sunken between the segments adaxially, hemispherically protruding abaxially; sparsely hairy on both sides, usually stronger abaxially than adaxially; setiform/ciliform hairs to 1.2 mm long, brown. Largest segments 8.0 15.0(—22.0) x 1.2—2.5(—3.5) mm (6-8 times longer than broad), segments ascending (60-70°), equilateral or weakly decurrent towards the bases, fully adnate, linear-oblong, the tips acute to obtuse; midvems visible abaxially (e.g., I. Jiménez 1773), at least discontinuously so; proximal 2-6 segment pairs markedly smaller than the subsequent segments,lowest ones usually auriculiform; setiform/ciliform hairs few many on the midveins, absent on margins and adaxial laminae; hydathodes present. Sori 2-12 pairs per segment, with 6-10 setiform or ciliform hairs 0.8-1.0 mm long.

Discussion:Melpomene personata is a common species in the Andes. Many Central American plants differ slightly from the Andean plants in having more, but smaller, isodiametric cells in the rhizome scales; more predominantly furcately arranged apical cells; and often just weakly visible midveins. Apart from those, the characters are identical.

Many specimens of Melpomene personata have been determined erroneously as M. pilosissima, which has added greatly to the confusion within that species complex. Both have a similar laminar dissection, are °ften conspicuously hairy on the petioles, and show similar variation in visibility of the midveins. Molecu- lar data, however, indicate that M. personata is not closely related to M. pilosissima and allies but, in fact, belongs to the M. moniliformis clade (Lehnert et al., 2009a). Morphologically, M. personata is characterized by horizontally creeping rhizomes (vs. usually erect in M. pilosissima). The rhizome length in M. personata can vary, but is usually longer than that in M. pilosissima and allies, with the fronds also placed further apart (3-10 mm vs. 0.5-2.0 mm in M. pilosissima). From M. pilosissima and M. huancabambensis, M. personata differs in having the hairs abaxially clustered in the sori and along the midveins (vs. hairs evenly distributed). From M. xiphopteroides, it differs in the terete petioles (vs. petioles marginate to alate). From M. huancabambensis, M. jimemezii, and M. michaelis, it differs in having shorter hairs (to 2 mm in M. personata vs. to 3 mm) and conspicuous hydathodes (vs. hydathodes reduced or lacking). From M. vernicosa and M. jimenezii, it differs in the glabrous or glabrescent (vs. persistently hairy) and thinner petioles (0.4-0.8 mm vs. 0.8-1.5 mm).

Other species for which Melpomene personata may be mistaken include M. albicans, M. sodiroi, and M. youngii. All differ from M. personata in having hidden midveins (vs. midveins at least obscurely, usually clearly, visible abaxially in M. personata). Melpomene sodiroi also has larger rhizome scales and usually gibbose segments; Melpomene albicans and M. youngii have a white wax-like deposit on the abaxial laminae, which is not present in M. personata. Furthermore, M. youngii is completely glabrous and lacks hairs in the sori (vs. petioles hairy and many hairs clustered in sori in M. personata).

The Peruvian collection Philippi s.n. (B) belongs to Melpomene personata and was one of the syntypes of Polypodium firmum Klotzsch (= Melpomene firma). The other syntype, Schomburgk 1170 (B), was chosen as lectotype of P. firmum (Looser, 1951). These two species can be distinguished easily: M. firma has erect rhizomes, patent segments, truncate laminar bases, and small cells along the scale margins, whereas M. personata has horizontally creeping rhizomes, ascending segments, and cuneate to decurrent laminar bases and lacks marginal cells on the rhizome scales.

The name alludes to the fact that the species often has been mistaken for M. pilosissima (Latin personata = wearing a mask, disguised) and also to the genus name. Greek actors wore masks (Latin persona) to symbolize the different characters of the plays, including the tragedies that the muse Melpomene represented.
Distribution:Chiapas Mexico North America| Chiriquí Panamá Central America| Cartago Costa Rica Central America| San José Costa Rica Central America| Chimaltenango Guatemala Central America| Guatemala Guatemala Central America| Huehuetenango Guatemala Central America| Totonicapán Guatemala Central America| Cochabamba Bolivia South America| La Paz Bolivia South America| Azuay Ecuador South America| Cañar Ecuador South America| Carchi Ecuador South America| Chimborazo Ecuador South America| Imbabura Ecuador South America| Cusco Peru South America| Junín Peru South America| San Martín Peru South America| Mérida Venezuela South America| Trujillo Venezuela South America| Antioquia Colombia South America| Boyacá Colombia South America| Cauca Colombia South America| Cundinamarca Colombia South America| Santander Colombia South America| San José de Ocoa Dominican Republic South America|