Vascular Plants of North Carolina
Account for Single-sorus Spleenwort - Asplenium monanthes   L.
Members of Asplenium with account distribution info or public map:
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Section 2 » Order Polypodiales » Family Aspleniaceae
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DistributionRestricted to the Escarpment Gorges region in the southwestern mountains, within a few miles of the GA/SC border, known from just Jackson and Transylvania counties.

This species occurs mostly south of the US, with records north of Mex. only in the NC/SC gorges region, northeastern AL, northern FL, and AZ.
AbundanceThe NCNHP database has five records, with three still extant. Thus, it is very rare in a small region of the state. It is a State Endangered species.
HabitatThis is a grotto or waterfall species, requiring shade, high humidity or moist rock faces, and a cool microclimate. In most areas of its range, it is found on calcareous (limestone) material, but in NC it is mainly in cracks and crevices of granitic rock material, perhaps where some calcareous minerals are present, including behind waterfalls.
PhenologyFruits from May to September.
IdentificationAs with A. resiliens, this is an evergreen species, similar in most vegetative respects -- a shining brown stipe a few inches long, with a very narrowly oblong blade about 6-9 inches long and about 1 inch wide, cut only into pinnate segments of about 15-40 pairs of pinnae. Each pinna is oppose another member of the pair, oblong with a small basal lobe, but otherwise finely serrated, rounded at the tip, about 2/5-inch long and 1/6-inch wide. However, as the names indicate, there is usually just a single sorus, or at times 2-3, beneath each pinna, rather linear in shape and parallel to the midrib; A. resiliens has 4-10 sori under each pinna, and they are diagonal to the midrib. However, if you were to encounter a small fern with a very narrow blade and all pinnae opposite, on montane rocks, and no sori are visible beneath the blades, you may have difficulty identifying the plant, though odds would strongly favor it being A. resiliens (based on range and "abundance"). However, Weakley (2018) does state that this very rare species has the "Main vein of the pinna running along the basal edge", as opposed to "Main vein of the pinna running more-or-less medially" in A. resiliens.
Taxonomic CommentsNone

Other Common Name(s)One-sorus Spleenwort
State RankS1
Global RankG4
State StatusE
US Status
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