Vascular Plants of North Carolina
Account for Woolly Lipfern - Myriopteris tomentosa   (Link) Fee
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Section 2 » Family Pteridaceae
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DistributionScattered over most of the Mountains and Piedmont, though absent from the northeastern Piedmont. Does not range into the Coastal Plain.

This Southern species ranges north to northern VA and southeastern KS, south to southern GA and AZ, being essentially absent from the Coastal Plains.
AbundanceUncommon to locally infrequent in the Mountains, and quite uncommon in the Piedmont, though seemingly absent east of Rockingham, Orange, and Chatham counties.
HabitatThis is a rock-inhabiting species, on many rock types. It favors somewhat circumneutral to slightly acidic soils, often on calcareous or mafic rocks, but scarce around more felsic rocks such as granite. It grows in rock crevices where the soil is dry and rather exposed; in dry weather the plants can look quite stressed.
PhenologyFruits from June to September.
IdentificationTrue to its Latin and common names, this is a woolly-looking species, with a glaucous, pale whitish-gray-green blade. The stipes are very hairy and scaly, about 3-4 inches long, shorter than the blade, which averages about 6-7 inches long and about 2.5 inches wide. The blade is tripinnate, with about 15-25 pairs of pinnae. This species and the others in the genus have sori in rows or lines, along the margins of the pinnules on the underside of the blade. The pinnule margins are strongly rolled-under such that the sori are usually hidden from view, as seen from below. M. lanosa often grows with this species, but that species has the blades green above and less hairy, only hairs on the stipe and rachis as opposed to hairs and scales in M. tomentosa. In addition, that species has the pinnules curled under but an observer should still easily see the sori.
Taxonomic CommentsThis and other NC species were formerly in the genus Cheilanthes.

Other Common Name(s)None
State RankS3
Global RankG5
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