Flora of the Canadian Arctic Archipelago

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S.G. Aiken, M.J. Dallwitz, L.L. Consaul, C.L. McJannet, R.L. Boles, G.W. Argus, J.M. Gillett, P.J. Scott, R. Elven, M.C. LeBlanc, L.J. Gillespie, A.K. Brysting, H. Solstad, and J.G. Harris

Dryopteridaceae Herter

Dryopteridaceae, Fern family.

Vegetative morphology. Plants 1–40 cm high; perennial herbs; caespitose, or not caespitose. Only fibrous roots present. Roots few to numerous. Roots red-brown, or grey, or black. Ground level or underground stems horizontal (arctic plants), or vertical; rhizomatous, or stoloniferous; compact (usually in arctic plants); 2–20 mm wide (if applicable). Ground level or underground stems scales present; on the horizontal rootstock stems - a confusing mass that cannot be counted accurately. Aerial stems not developed, fern leaves with long petioles arising from a rhizome. Leaves arising singly from creeping rhizomes (arising along a horizontal stem at ground level); alternate; persistent, or dying annually and non-persistent, or marcescent. Petioles (1–)15–160(–200) mm long (these are the basal, rachis, petiole, or stalk portion of the fronds); glabrous, or hairy. Petiole hairs shorter than the diameter of the petiole, or longer than the diameter of the petiole. Leaf blades compound. Blades (10–)30–170 mm long, (2–)5–35(–50) mm wide, circinate when young, veins pinnate or with inconspicuous veins. Blade adaxial surface without sessile glands (usually) or with sessile glands (Dryopteris), glabrous or hairy, hairs long-silky (or not applicable). Blade abaxial surface glabrous or hairy or scaly, hairs sparse or very dense. Blades lobed. Blade margins deeply divided. Hydathodes present and conspicuous, or absent, or present but inconspicuous. Blade apices acute, or obtuse. Leaflet arrangement pinnate.

Reproductive morphology. Sporangia in sori on the undersurface of the leaves. Indusia ovate, whitish, lanceolate scales that fall early, or glandular.

Ecology and habitat. Substrates: slopes, ridges, cliffs; dry, moderately well-drained areas.

North American distribution. Range in the Canadian Arctic Archipelago limited. Uncommon, rare.

General notes. The ferns are unique among seedless vascular plants in having generally large leaves with several to many veins. Ferns are relatively abundant in the fossil record from the Carboniferous period to the present, but are not known from the Devonian.

Illustrations. • Ferns. Plants characterised by sporangia borne on the surface of the leaves. A) Lower surface of leaf pinnae showing each sorus covered with a whitish, scale-like indusium. B) Upper surface of the leaf pinnae. The position of the underlying sori can be seen.


This publication is available on the internet (posted May 2011) and on CD-ROM (published in 2007). These versions are identical in content, except that the errata page for CD-ROM is accessible on the main index page of the web version.

Recommended citation for the web-based version of this publication: Aiken, S.G., Dallwitz, M.J., Consaul, L.L., McJannet, C.L., Boles, R.L., Argus, G.W., Gillett, J.M., Scott, P.J., Elven, R., LeBlanc, M.C., Gillespie, L.J., Brysting, A.K., Solstad, H., and Harris, J.G. 2007. Flora of the Canadian Arctic Archipelago: Descriptions, Illustrations, Identification, and Information Retrieval. NRC Research Press, National Research Council of Canada, Ottawa. http://nature.ca/aaflora/data, accessed on DATE.

Recommended citation for the CD-ROM version of this publication: Aiken, S.G., Dallwitz, M.J., Consaul, L.L., McJannet, C.L., Boles, R.L., Argus, G.W., Gillett, J.M., Scott, P.J., Elven, R., LeBlanc, M.C., Gillespie, L.J., Brysting, A.K., Solstad, H., and Harris, J.G. 2007. Flora of the Canadian Arctic Archipelago: Descriptions, Illustrations, Identification, and Information Retrieval. [CD-ROM] NRC Research Press, National Research Council of Canada, Ottawa.

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