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downy maiden fern, downy shield fern, tapering tri-vein fern


short-creeping, 4–6 mm diam.


often somewhat dimorphic, evergreen, often closely placed, 50–150 cm, fertile leaves with longer petioles and more contracted pinnae.


often purplish brown, 15–50 cm × 3–6 mm, at base with brown, linear-lanceolate, hairy scales.


(25–)40–100 cm, 1–4(–6) proximal pairs of pinnae reduced, blade gradually tapered to pinnatifid apex.


7–17 × 1–3 cm, incised 1/2–3/4 of width;

segments rounded at apex, basal acroscopic segment of proximal pinnae often auriculate;

proximal pair of veins from adjacent segments united at obtuse angle below sinus with excurrent vein 2–4 mm.


round, medial to supramedial;

indusia tan, pubescent, hairs 0.1–0.3 mm;

sporangial stalks with orangish, stalked glands.


abaxially of uniformly short hairs 0.1–0.2 mm on costae, veins, and blade tissue;

veins adaxially with stouter hairs, also with hairs 0.1–0.2 mm on blade tissue.


= 144.

Thelypteris dentata

Habitat Damp woods
Elevation 0–100 m (0–300 ft)
from FNA
AL; FL; GA; KY; LA; s Mexico; West Indies in the Antilles; South America to n Argentina; native to tropical and subtropical Asia; Africa [Introduced in North America]

Thelypteris dentata probably does not persist northward in areas (such as Kentucky) where winters are sometimes severe (R. Cranfill 1980).

(Discussion copyrighted by Flora of North America; reprinted with permission.)

Source FNA vol. 2.
Parent taxa Thelypteridaceae > Thelypteris > subg. Cyclosorus
Sibling taxa
T. augescens, T. grandis, T. hispidula, T. interrupta, T. kunthii, T. nevadensis, T. noveboracensis, T. ovata, T. palustris, T. patens, T. pilosa, T. puberula, T. quelpaertensis, T. reptans, T. resinifera, T. reticulata, T. sclerophylla, T. serrata, T. simulata, T. tetragona
Synonyms Polypodium dentatum, Christella dentata, Cyclosorus dentatus, Dryopteris dentata, Dryopteris mollis, T. reducta
Name authority (Forsskål) E. P. St. John: Amer. Fern J. 26: 44. (1936)
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