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Published In: Ferns of North America 1: 24. 1878. (Ferns N. Amer.) Name publication detail

Project Name Data (Last Modified On 7/9/2009)
Acceptance : Accepted
Project Data     (Last Modified On 7/9/2009)
Status: Native


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4. Asplenium platyneuron (L.) Britton, Sterns & Poggenb. (ebony spleenwort)

A. platyneuron var. bacculum-rubrum (Featherm.) Fernald

A. platyneuron var. incisum (Howe ex Peck) B.L. Rob.

A. platyneuron f. serratum (E.S. Mill.) Ralph Hoffm.

Leaves 5–50 cm long, somewhat dimorphic, the vegetative leaves shorter, prostrate to arching, with shorter pinnae. Petioles reddish brown to dark brown their entire length, shiny, the color extending to nearly the tip of the rachis. Leaf blades pinnately compound, linear to narrowly oblanceolate in outline. Pinnae mostly alternate on the rachis, 4–35 mm long, the median pinnae 7–35 mm long, oblong to narrowly deltoid or nearly linear, the margins shallowly to sometimes deeply toothed, mostly auriculate at the base of the upper margin, the base truncate to broadly rounded, mostly overlapping the rachis. Veins not anastomosing. Spores 64 per sporangium. 2n=72. May–September.

Common nearly throughout Missouri (eastern U.S. and adjacent Canada, locally and disjunctly west to Arizona; Africa). Shaded banks and slopes in mesic to upland forests, less commonly in crevices of boulders and bluffs, on both calcareous and noncalcareous substrates.

The ebony spleenwort is a common member of the ground layer in Missouri forests. Less commonly, it grows near the bases of boulders and bluffs, where it sometimes occurs in proximity to plants of the walking fern (A. rhizophyllum). For a discussion of A. ¥ebenoides, the sterile hybrid between these two species, see the treatment of A. rhizophyllum.

Elsewhere, A. platyneuron has been documented to hybridize with A. pinnatifidum (A. ¥kentuckiense T.N. McCoy), A. ruta-muraria (A. ¥morganii W.H. Wagner & F.S. Wagner), and A. trichomanes (A. ¥virginicum Maxon). Backcrosses with A. ¥ebenoides (A. ¥boydstoniae (K.S. Walter) J.W. Short) have also been documented. However, neither these backcrosses nor the primary hybrids listed above have been documented from Missouri as yet. They should be searched for in areas where other spleenwort species occur in proximity to A. platyneuron.



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