Cheilanthes pteridioides

Synonyms Cheilanthes fragrans, C. acrostica Epithet means "like Pteris," a strange derivation as the species is not likely to be confused with Pteris. Evergreen, 6 to 12 in. (15 to 30 cm). Zones 8 and 9. This is a relatively new classification. In 1990 Cheilanthes acrostica, C. guanchica, C. maderensis (synonym C. fragrans), C. pteridioides, and C. tinaei were all reclassified as subspecies of P. pteridioides.

description: This rhizome is erect to short-creeping. The stipes are up to one-half of the frond length and dark brown with lighter brown scales. The triangular, tripinnate blade has 8 to 10 pairs of pinnae with the basal pair shaped very much like butterflies in flight. They are all mildly endowed with tan scales. Sori are marginal with discontinuous indusia.

range and habitat: This species and its collection of assorted subspecies grows on various substrates and is widespread throughout Europe, the Atlantic islands, North Africa, the Middle East as well as India, the Himalayas, and adjacent Far Eastern countries.

culture and comments: A charming little fern, this adapts to well-drained, sunny garden sites. although I have only seen it once, as Cheilanthes acrostica, and that was in the garden of British expert, Clive Brotherton, who is a whiz with xerics.

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