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Cryptogramma acrostichoides

Cryptogramma acrostichoides

Cryptogramma acrostichoides (Rock Brake)

Lizard Head Trail, June 16, 2016 and August 4, 2010.

Cryptogramma acrostichoides

Cryptogramma acrostichoides.  Synonym: Cryptogramma crispa subspecies acrostichoides. (Rock Brake)
Pteridaceae. (Rock Brake Family).  Synonyms: Adiantaceae, Cryptogrammaceae, Polypodiaceae. 

Subalpine. Scree. Summer.
Owens Basin Trail, June 13, 2004.

Look for these lacy ferns as you walk through scree and talus slopes and rocky hillsides at higher elevations. You will often find Cryptogramma acrostichoides in the company of Cystopteris fragilis

Notice the two distinct types of fronds: the lower, rounded-lobed fronds are sterile; the taller are fertile.

This species is circumboreal.  In 1753 Linnaeus named this species Osmunda crispa from specimens collected in England and Sweden.  Robert Brown renamed this genus and species in 1823 from specimens collected by Richardson on the Canadian Franklin Expedition.

"Cryptos" is Greek for "hidden" and "gramma" for "line", and taken together the two refer to the lines of sporangia hidden by the rolled leaf margins.  "Acrostichoides" means "similar to plants of the genus Acrostichum"(The Greek "oides" means "similar to").

Cryptogramma acrostichoides

Cryptogramma acrostichoides

Cryptogramma acrostichoides.  Synonym: Cryptogramma crispa subspecies acrostichoides. (Rock Brake)
Pteridaceae. (Rock Brake Family).  Synonyms: Adiantaceae, Cryptogrammaceae, Polypodiaceae.

Subalpine. Scree. Summer.
Lizard Head Trail, August 4 & September 15, 2010.

The margins of the taller fertile fronds are rolled over the spores presenting a tubular appearance.  When spores mature, they give a golden fall glow to Cryptogramma acrostichoides.  Just a slight tap on the fertile frond sends a cloud of spores into the air.

 

Cryptogramma stelleri

Cryptogramma stelleri

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cryptogramma stelleri (Steller's Rock Brake)
Pteridaceae. Synonyms: Adiantaceae, Cryptogrammaceae, Polypodiaceae. (Rock Brake Family)

Subalpine. Cliff crevices. Summer.
Southwest Colorado, 2010.

These small Cryptogrammas (as shown, about five inches long) are found in rock crevices, but in contrast to the very common Cryptogramma acrostichoides shown above, they are rare plants in Colorado and in much of their habitat in the United States.

The fertile leaves are long and narrow (the upper half of the photograph) and they often overlay or are longer than the infertile ones showing at the bottom of the photograph.

Cryptogramma stelleri is found around the world.  It is believed that Wilhelm Steller collected or recorded the plant, probably on his trip with Bering in 1741.  The plant was first named Pteris stelleri by S. G. Gmelin in 1768 and was renamed Cryptogramma stelleri by Prantl in 1882.  (Click to read more about Steller.)

Click to read more about this fern
and
click again to read a delightful book on ferns

Range map © John Kartesz,
Floristic Synthesis of North America

State Color Key

Species present in state and native
Species present in state and exotic
Species not present in state

County Color Key

Species present and not rare
Species present and rare
Species extirpated (historic)
Species extinct
Species noxious
Species exotic and present
Native species, but adventive in state
Eradicated
Questionable presence

Range map for Cryptogramma acrostichoides  

Cryptogramma stelleri

Range map for Cryptogramma stelleri