Monographs Details: Alansmia stella (Copel.) Moguel & Kessler var. stella
Authority: Moguel Velázquez, Ana L. & Kessler, Michael. 2013. Grammitid ferns (Polypodiaceae). III. . Fl. Neotrop. Monogr. 113: 1--68. (Published by NYBG Press)
Family:Polypodiaceae
Synonyms:Ctenopteris stella Copel., Terpsichore stella (Copel.) Moguel & M.Kessler, Terpsichore fabispora (Copel.) A.Rojas, Ctenopteris fabispora Copel.
Description:Species Description - Fronds (15-)30-70(-100) x (1.5-)3.0-10 cm; rachises abaxially sparsely to densely covered with simple, bifurcate, and stellate, 3- to 15-branched, hyaline to castaneous, 0.2-3.0 mm long setae (some often very delicate or even extremely thin and matted), often also with stellate, 3- to 25-branched, deep red to atropurpureous, 0.5-3.0 mm long setae, these sometimes conspicuously pedicellate, the pedicels castaneous to atropurpureous, 0.2-0.4 mm long, hollow or shrivelled, sometimes remaining fixed to the rachises when the setae fall off; pinnae perpendicular to up to 80° oblique to the rachises, contiguous to alternate, (0.8-) 2.0-6.0 x 0.3-1.5 cm, linear-deltate to deltate, symmetric at the bases and completely adnate to the rachises with acute apices or oblong deltate, slightly asymmetric at the bases, strongly curved acroscopically and strongly curved to slightly decurrent basiscopically with bluntly acute to round apices or oval, 2A adnate to the rachises, almost symmetric at the bases with round apices, margins entire, setose, the setae simple, bifurcate, and stellate, 3- to 15-branched, hyaline to castaneous or castaneous-reddish, 0.5-3.0 mm long; hydathodes usually lacking lime dots.

Discussion:Alansmia stella var. stella has been collected abundantly and had been identified as A. lanigera, a presumably closely related species. It can be distinguished by lacking lime dots on the hydathodes and by the darker indument of the rachises’ abaxial surface (with the exception of some specimens from Central America that have a castaneous indument). Alansmia stella var. stella has a wide distribution and is extremely plastic in its habit as well as indument. In most of its range, it shows strikingly diverse pinnae shapes even within populations (the exception is Bolivia, where the morphology of the plants is more uniform), so that regional tendencies are evident only in larger series of specimens. Consequently, A. stella var. stella is defined here in a wide sense, and regional tendencies are described informally and discussed separately.

In Costa Rica, many specimens of Alansmia stella var. stella show an atypical indument of only yellow to castaneous, simple and stellate setae on the rachises, costae, and lamina surfaces instead of the deep red to atropurpureous setae typical of A. stella var. stella specimens from most other locations. In some cases Costa Rican specimens also show a predominance of simple setae on the pinnae surfaces instead of the the stellate setae typical on specimens from South America. The lack of stellate setae on the abaxial lamina surface on the specimens of A. smithii has been useful in this region for differentiation of the two species.

In Panama, some specimens of Alansmia stella var. stella show a firmer blade texture; linear-lanceolate, very shiny, castaneous-reddish, rhizome scales of unusual length (1-6 mm vs. 1-3 mm long in South America); and shorter blades and occur at lower elevations (750 vs. 1500 m lowermost elevation in South America).

Some morphological variation is apparent in Alansmia stella var. stella also in its southern distribution range. Many specimens from Ecuador have an extremely dense indument of abundantly branched setae on laminae surfaces, both abaxially and adaxially, whereas most specimens from other regions show a moderately dense to dense indument on the abaxial pinnae surfaces and a moderately to highly reduced indument on the adaxial surfaces. Another peculiarity of some plants from Ecuador is their conspicuously oval pinnae that are sometimes present only in the smallest fronds of a plant, whereas the larger fronds show the typical morphology. The largest plants of the species can be found in Bolivia with frond lengths that reach 100 cm compared to 70 cm for the fronds of plants from other regions.
Distribution:Puntarenas Costa Rica Central America| Chiriquí Panamá Central America| Alajuela Costa Rica Central America| Cartago Costa Rica Central America| Heredia Costa Rica Central America| Limón Costa Rica Central America| San José Costa Rica Central America| Cochabamba Bolivia South America| La Paz Bolivia South America| Carchi Ecuador South America| Cotopaxi Ecuador South America| Imbabura Ecuador South America| Morona-Santiago Ecuador South America| Napo Ecuador South America| Pichincha Ecuador South America| Tungurahua Ecuador South America| Zamora-Chinchipe Ecuador South America| Huánuco Peru South America| Pasco Peru South America| Antioquia Colombia South America| Caldas Colombia South America| Cauca Colombia South America| Chocó Colombia South America| Cundinamarca Colombia South America| Huila Colombia South America| Nariño Colombia South America| Putumayo Colombia South America| Tolima Colombia South America| Distrito Capital Colombia South America|