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Spiny Cliffbrake Fern (Pellaea truncata)
Ferns Around Las Vegas, Vegetation Around Las Vegas
Spiny Cliffbrake (Pellaea truncata)

General: Spiny Cliffbrakes (Pellaea truncata) are small ferns with leaflets that are generally all the same size, stalked, gray green, oval, and have edges that are rolled under. The leaflets have a spine at the tip.

Spiny Cliffbrake is an uncommon component of desert vegetation communities along washes and on dry hillsides in the Upper Sonoran (Mojave Desert Scrub and Pinyon-Juniper Woodland) life zone. This fern usually is found in dry, shady places in cracks and under boulders or in the shade of other plants, but sometimes it is found on open, rocky hillsides in the full sun. This fern is not usually associated with water.

Look for this species in Pine Creek Canyon at Red Rocks NCA.

Family: Brake (Pteridaceae).

Spiny Cliffbrake (Pellaea truncata)

Other Names: Cliff-brake.

Plant Form: Small, upright fern.

Height: To about 15 inches.

Stems: Petiole brown.

Leaves: Gray green, compound. Entire leaf 6 to 12 inches long, 1-1/2 to 4 inches wide; 2-pinnate. Leaflets paired, stalked, oblong, pointed at the tip, to 1/3 inch long; and generally the same size. Leaflets gray when dry.

Spiny Cliffbrake (Pellaea truncata)

Habitat: This fern usually is found in shady places under boulders or in the shade of other plants on north- and east-facing slopes, but sometimes it is found on open, south-facing rocky hillsides in the full sun.

Elevation: 4,000 to 6,000 feet.

Distribution: California to Colorado and Texas, south into Baja California.

Comments:

Spiny Cliffbrake (Pellaea truncata)
Habitat: shady spot at the base of a rock
Spiny Cliffbrake (Pellaea truncata)
Paired, oval leaflets
Spiny Cliffbrake (Pellaea truncata)
Paired, oval leaflets
Spiny Cliffbrake (Pellaea truncata)
Dry plant on hot, south-facing slope. The leaflets are partially folded.
Spiny Cliffbrake (Pellaea truncata)
Close-up of leaflets (notice pointed tips)
Spiny Cliffbrake (Pellaea truncata)
Close-up of dry, folded leaflets
Spiny Cliffbrake (Pellaea truncata) Spiny Cliffbrake (Pellaea truncata)
Spiny Cliffbrake (Pellaea truncata) more to come ...

Note: All distances, elevations, and other facts are approximate. Names generally follow the USDA database.
copyright; Last updated 141117

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