Cheilanthes argentea (S. G. Gmelin) Kunze

Silver cloak fern

Etymology Argentea means silvery.
Description Rhizome: erect, short, scales reddish brown to dark brown, linear-lanceolate.
Frond: 20 cm high by 10 cm wide, evergreen, monomorphic, blade/stipe ratio: 1:2.
Stipe: purplish brown, polished, fragile, sparsely scaly at base, vascular bundles: 1.
Blade: 1-pinnate-pinnatifid, but there may be one pinnatifid pinnule on the lowest pinna next to the rachis, pentagonal, papery, gray-green above, white-waxy below, white or yellow powder from wax glands below, glabrous above.
Pinnae: 3 to 8 pair, one or two distinct pinnae pairs topped by a pinnatifid, winged rachis; segments fertile segment margins slightly enrolled to cover sporangia; margins serrate; veins free, forking.
Sori: linear, submarginal, indusium: false, continuous along the margin, sporangia: black.
Culture Habitat: dry limestone rocks, mortared walls. Distribution: Siberia, Japan, Korea, China, Malaysia, and the Philippines. Hardy to -25°C, USDA Zone 5.
Distinctive Characteristics The pentagonal blade with white lower surface is distinctive.
Pteris argentea S. G. Gmelin
Aleuritopteris argentea (S.G. Gmelin) Fée
Cheilanthes argentea
Cheilanthes argentea. Fertile pinna, lower surface in focus. More photos at the Resource Xerophytische Farne - Xerophytic Ferns  Photo by Otto Ganss from his fern site
Taxonomy In taxonomic circles Aleuritopterisis the preferred name. In garden writing Cheilanthes wins 3:1 in 2010, but is losing ground, entirely lost in China.
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