Monographs Details: Cheilanthes
Authority: Mickel, John T. & Beitel, Joseph M. 1988. Pteridophyte Flora of Oaxaca, Mexico. Mem. New York Bot. Gard. 46: 1-580.
Description:Genus Description - Terrestrial or epipetric; rhizome short- or long-creeping, occasionally ascending, scaly; roots wiry; fronds monomorphic, small to medium-sized, 1-5 times pinnate, hairy, scaly or farinose on lower surface; veins free; sori near the margin, usually with the margin inrolled and differentiated, or along the veins without the margin recurved or differentiated; spores tetrahedral-globose.
Discussion:Type: Cheilanthes micropteris Swartz (fide Internatl. Code Bot. Nomenclature, but lectotypified by J. Smith (Hist. fil. 282. 1875) as C. tenuifolia (Burman) Swartz).
Notholaena R. Brown, Prodr. fl. Nov. Holl. 145. 1810. Lectotype (chosen by Christensen, Index filie, xli. 1906): Notholaena marantae (Linnaeus) R. Brown [=Acrostichum marantae Linnaeus].
Cheilanthes has nearly 200 species, mostly of warm, dry, rocky regions, with many species in dry northern Mexico and southwestern United States. The apogamous condition in many species is generally suggested by the presence of 32 spores per sporangium rather than the customary 64.
Generally the genus Notholaena is separated from Cheilanthes on the basis of the sori running along the veins near their tips and the margin not differentiated, but this character seems to be artificial and unreliable as a generic character. We believe it is better to maintain the two as a single genus until the characters have been studied in a conscientious manner. Furthermore,
Cheilanthes is to some extent confused with Pellaea, and several species traditionally maintained in that genus are here treated as species of Cheilanthes. There are several natural species groupings within Cheilanthes, but at what level they should be recognized is still one of the major questions in fern taxonomy.
References: Hevly, R. H. 1965. Studies of the sinuous cloak-fern (Notholaena sinuata) complex. J. Ariz. Acad. Sci. 3: 205-208; Mickel, J. T. 1979. The fern genus Cheilanthes in continental United States. Phytologia 41: 431-437; Tryon, R. M. 1956. A revision of the American species of Notholaena. Contr. Gray Herb. 179: 1-106.