Cheilanthes Sw.

Rock Ferns

15 species in AUST. (9 endemic, 6 native); all states and territories

Small, terrestrial, mostly xerophytic ferns found on rocky hillsides. Rhizome tufted or shortly creeping, clothed with scales which are narrow, entire or slightly denticulate, non-peltate, concolorous, and non-sclerotic or with pale margins and a dark central sclerotic band. Stipes tufted, light chesnut-coloured or dark red-brown or dark brown or purplish black or black, polished, shallowly grooved above, paleaceous at the base; the upper and middle regions scaly or hairy or glabrous. Main rhachis chestnut-coloured to black, grooved above, terete or angled. Fronds uniform or dimorphic. Lamina small, narrow, often basiscopically produced, mostly herbaceous, glabrous or clothed with hairs and/or scales, bipinnatifid to decompound, with very small ultimate segments. Veins free. Sori marginal, borne on the tips of the veins, small, rounded, often spreading laterally and in contact but discontinuous. Indusium composed of the ± reflexed and slightly to moderately developed frond-margin, roundish, not continuous but later ± confluent, sometimes absent. Sporangia with an annulus of 14–24 thick-walled cells, several thin-walled cells and a stomium of numerous cells. Spores globoso-tetrahedral, warty or spiny or smooth, without a perispore.