spear fern in rocky habitat




pronounced: nehh-toh-lep-id-AY-see-eye

the sword fern family


This is a family of ferns, the type genus being Nephrolepis, the name being derived from the Greek νεφρος (nephros), the kidneys, and λεπις (lepis), a scale. The’ kidney’ refers to the shape of the sorus and its indusium, and ‘scale’ refers to the scales on the rhizome and stolon. The taxonomy of the family is rather confused, and its members are often placed in either the Davilliaceae or the Oleandraceae, to both of which it is closely related. These ferns may be terrestrial, lithophytic or epiphytic. They have either short-creeping or erect rhizomes, sometimes producing tubers, and produce stolons that root and form shoots. There are numerous pinnate fronds whose pinnae are articulated to the rachis. The sori are orbicular, terminal on a veinlet, dorsal; the indusium is orbicular-reniform, or crescent-shaped.


Photograph by Forest & Kim Starr , via Wikimedia Commons