Argyrochosma fendleri
Author: (Kunze) Windham


Fendler cloak-fern


Pteridaceae (Maidenhair Fern Family)

Close up of Argyrochosma fendleri by Michael Figgs
Click image to enlarge.

Taxonomic Comments

Weber and Wittmann (2012) include this species in the Cheilanthaceae, the Lipfern family. Lellinger (1985) and Harrington (1954) list as Notholaena fendleri.

Ranks and Status

Global rank: G3
State rank: S3
Federal protection status: None
State protection status: None

[+] Description and Phenology

Argyrochosma fendleri by Heidi Snyder
Click image to enlarge.

General description: Argyrochosma fendleri is a perennial herb that arises from a scaly brown rhizome (root). Petioles are dark brown. The leaves are generally triangular in shape, but are very finely, four to six times, pinnately divided. The rachis is zigzag with very small leaflets (pinnae) at the tips of these branches. These ultimate leaf segments are oval to elliptical in shape (Harrington 1954). The texture of these segments varies from herbaceous to leathery, and have a white waxy covering on the underside. Sporangia (fruiting bodies) are submarginal (not at the edges of the leaflets). Plants are usually 6 to 8 inches (15 to 20 cm) tall, exceptionally to 12 inches (30 cm) (Lellinger 1985, Kelso, et al., 2004, Weber and Wittmann 2012).

Look Alikes: This is the only species known from this genus in Colorado, and it is not likely to be confused with other fern species in Colorado. Related ferns have larger leaflets (pinnae) and have straight stems (rachises).

Phenology: The Colorado collections housed at the University of Colorado Herbarium were made between April 29 and September 28. Sporulation of Argyrochosma fendleri occurs in summer and fall (FNA 1993+).

[+] Herbarium Photos

Images of Argyrochosma fendleri housed at the Colorado State University Herbarium.

Click image to enlarge.

Click image to enlarge.

Click image to enlarge.

Click image to enlarge.

Click image to enlarge.

Click image to enlarge.

[+] Habitat

Habitat of Argyrochosma fendleri by Michael Figgs
Click image to enlarge.

Weber and Wittmann (2012) report that in Colorado this species is found on talus of arid canyonsides. Colorado Natural Heritage Program occurrence records (2011) show that the species is often found on volcanic substrates within ponderosa pine or pinyon-juniper woodlands or various types of shrublands including Gambel's oak. Other commonly associated species include Bouteloua gracilis and Selaginella mutica. The species is found on slopes with variable aspects in Colorado, with an elevation range from just under 5000 feet in Baca County to about 9400 in Hinsdale County.


Elevation Range: 4,895 - 9,419 feet (1,492 - 2,871 meters)

[+] Distribution

Distribution of Argyrochosma fendleri in Colorado according to mapped land ownership/management boundaries (CNHP 2012, COMaP v9 ).
Click image to enlarge.

Distribution of Argyrochosma fendleri in Colorado: please see county list under State Range.

Colorado endemic: No
Global range: This species has been found from southeastern Wyoming, through much of Colorado and New Mexico, and into Sonora, Mexico. There are well over 30 sites documented in Colorado (USDA NRCS 2012, Flora of North America 1993+).
State range: This species is known from 16 counties in Colorado: Alamosa, Baca, Boulder, Chaffee, Clear Creek, El Paso, Fremont, Gunnison, Hinsdale, Larimer, Las Animas, Mesa, Montrose, Park, Saguache, and Teller (Colorado Natural Heritage Program 2012).

[+] Threats and Management Issues

Anthropogenic threats appear to be minimal. One occurrence may be threatened by foot traffic. Most occurrences are in remote, rocky sites in areas that are used for recreation and/or cattle grazing.

[+] References

    • Ackerfield, J. 2012. The Flora of Colorado. Colorado State University Herbarium. 433 pp.
    • Colorado Natural Heritage Program. 2012. Biodiversity Tracking and Conservation System. Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO.
    • Flora of North America Editorial Committee, ed. (FNA). 1993+. Flora of North America North of Mexico. Oxford Univ. Press, New York, Oxford.
    • Flora of North America Editorial Committee. 1993a. Flora of North America north of Mexico. Vol. 2. Pteridophytes and gymnosperms. Oxford Univ. Press, New York. xvi + 475 pp.
    • Harrington, H.D. 1954. Manual of the plants of Colorado. Sage Press, Chicago. 666 pp.
    • Kartesz, J., and the Biota of North America Program (BONAP). 1998. A Synonymized Checklist of the Vascular Flora of the United States, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands. http://plants.usda.gov.
    • Kartesz, J.T. 1994. A synonymized checklist of the vascular flora of the United States, Canada, and Greenland. 2nd edition. 2 vols. Timber Press, Portland, OR.
    • Kartesz, John and the Biota of North America Program. 1998. "A Synonymized Checklist of the Vascular Flora of the United States, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands". http://plants.usda.gov.
    • Lavender, A.E., M.M. Fink, S.E. Linn, D.M. Theobald. 2011. Colorado Ownership, Management, and Protection v9 Database. Colorado Natural Heritage Program and Geospatial Centroid, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO. (30 September).
    • Lellinger, D. B. 1985. A Field Manual of the Ferns and Fern-allies of the United States and Canada. Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington D.C.
    • Lellinger, D.B. 1985. A field manual of the ferns and fern-allies of the U.S. and Canada. Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington, DC. 389 pp.
    • USDA, Natural Resources Conservation Service, PLANTS Database [USDA PLANTS]. http://plants.usda.gov/. Accessed 2007.
    • USDA, NRCS. 2013. The PLANTS Database. National Plant Data Team, Greensboro, NC 27401-4901 USA.
    • Weber, W. A. and R. C. Wittmann. 2012. Colorado Flora, Eastern Slope, A Field Guide to the Vascular Plants, Fourth Edition. Boulder, Colorado. 555 pp.
    • Weber, W. A. and R. C. Wittmann. 2012. Colorado Flora, Western Slope, A Field Guide to the Vascular Plants, Fourth Edition. Boulder, Colorado. 532 pp.
    • Weber, W.A., and R.C. Wittmann. 1996a. Colorado flora: Eastern slope. Revised edition. Univ. Press of Colorado, Niwot, Colorado. 524 pp.
    • Weber, W.A., and R.C. Wittmann. 1996b. Colorado flora: Western slope. Univ. Press of Colorado, Niwot, Colorado. 496 pp.

Last Updated

2012-10-03