British ferns (Filicopsida)

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L. Watson and M. J. Dallwitz

Cyrtomium falcatum (L. f.) C. Presl

“House holly-fern”.

Phanerophlebia falcata (L.f.) Copel., Polystichum falcatum (L.f.) Diels.

Sporophyte. The rhizomes bearing scales. Plants with no clear distinction into fertile and sterile leaves.

Leaves aggregated terminally; to 50–120 cm long (? - “to 1.2” m); persistent; circinnate; compound; simply divided to complexly divided; once pinnate, with conspicuously divided pinnae (in that the asymmetrically triangular-ovate, entire to shortly, bluntly toothed pinnae usually have a broad, basal lobe on one side). The petioles shorter than the blades. Leaf blades in outline elliptic, or ovate; leathery. The longest pinnae around the middle of the blade; 6–10 cm long.

The sporangia protected; aggregated in sori. The sori sub-orbicular (scattered all over the abaxial surfaces of the pinnae); remaining discrete at maturity; with a true indusium. The indusia peltate.

Distribution and habitat. On walls and maritime rocks, and other shady places. Naturalized. Native to eastern Asia, popular in conservatories, etc., and widely naturalized, in western Britain from the Isles of Scilly to WC Scotland, SE England, Ireland and the Channel Isles.

Vice-county records. Britain: West Cornwall, East Cornwall, South Somerset, Dorset, South Hampshire, West Sussex, East Sussex, East Kent, West Kent, Surrey, Hertfordshire, Middlesex, Berkshire, Bedfordshire, East Gloucestershire, West Gloucestershire, Cardiganshire, Caernarvonshire, South-east Yorkshire, Isle of Man, North Ebudes, Channel Islands. Ireland: East Cork.

Classification. Family Polypodiaceae (C.T.W.); Dryopteridaceae (Swale and Hassler); Dryopteridaceae (Stace). Order Dryopteridales (Swale and Hassler).

Illustrations. • Cyrtomium falcatum (D. Lubin, photo).


To view the illustrations with detailed captions, go to the interactive key. This also offers full and partial descriptions, diagnostic descriptions, differences and similarities between taxa, lists of taxa exhibiting or lacking specified attributes, and distributions of character states within any set of taxa.

Cite this publication as: ‘Watson, L., and Dallwitz, M.J. 2004 onwards. British ferns (Filicopsida). Version: 4th January 2012. http://delta-intkey.com’.

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