Sunday, May 30, 2010

Phegopteris connectilis

One fern we saw in the Dells, mostly on Blackhawk Island, was Phegopteris connectilis. I'd like to highlight it because I haven't done so previously on the blog, and it's a neat little guy. It has a relative that is fairly common in shadey, moist woodlands in the eastern U.S., Phegopteris hexagonoptera, but I've seen P. connectilis much less frequently. These are the only two species of the genus found in the U.S.; they have one other relative in eastern Asia. Both of our species are easy to spot because the lower two pinnae are strongly reflexed, meaning they point nearly backwards from the rest of the frond, as you can see in these photos of P. hexagonoptera (in the top photo, look at the frond in the middle of the photo, and its two bottom pinnae are pointing nearly straight up):

P. connectilis has the same general form, though those pinnae aren't perhaps quite so opposed to the rest of the plant. The best way to tell the two species apart is that in P. hexagonoptera, those bottom pinnae will actually be attached to the next set of pinnae by a little wing of tissue along the rachis, while in P. connectilis they will be separate. The following photos are some of the P. connectilis we saw on Blackhawk Island.

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