Stelleri is named after the 18th Century naturalist George Wilhelm Steller, who accompanied the Bering expedition of 1741 and lent his name to several northwestern species.
Rhizome: long-creeping, seldom branching, succulent, brittle, scales colorless, sparse, transparent, netted, ovate.
Frond: 18 cm high by 5 cm wide, deciduous, dying by late summer, dimorphic, the sterile fronds shorter than the fertile ones, blade/stipe ratio: 1:3 to 1:1.
Stipe: brown at base, then green, glabrous, vascular bundles: 2.
Blade: 2-pinnate fertile fronds, the sterile less, lanceolate, herbaceous, bright green, thin-textured, glabrous.
Pinnae: 4 pair, lanceolate, 1-2 cm, the fertile ones contracted; margins entire, inrolled on fertile segments; veins free, forked.
Sori: elongate, submarginal, indusium: false, strongly enrolled, sporangia: yellow, maturity: midsummer.
Habitat: moist, shaded, calcareous rocks and cliffs at higher altitudes or latitudes.
Distribution: Siberia to China, Japan, Himalaya, Taiwan, Europe, northeastern and northwestern North America, disjunct at several locations in the Rocky Mountains.
Hardy to -40°C, USDA Zone 2, requires a cool summer.
Ephemeral, dying back in summer, fragility, and the long-creeping stem contrasts with other Cryptogramma.
Pteris stelleri S. G. Gmelin
Illustration by Edgar Paulton, from How to Know the Ferns and Fern Allies, John T. Mickel, © 1979 Wm. C. Brown Co.