Stems short-creeping to compact, 3--7 mm diam.; scales uniformly brown or slightly darker at base, linear-lanceolate, straight to slightly contorted, loosely appressed, persistent. Leaves clustered, 6--50 cm; vernation noncircinate. Petiole black, rounded adaxially. Blade lanceolate to linear-oblong, 2-pinnate to 2-pinnate-pinnatifid at base, 1--7 cm wide; rachis rounded adaxially, lacking scales, with dimorphic pubescence, abaxially sparsely hirsute, adaxially covered with tortuous, appressed hairs. Pinnae not articulate, dark color of stalk continuing into pinna base, basal pair slightly smaller than adjacent pair, ± equilateral, appearing glabrous or sparsely pubescent adaxially. Costae green adaxially for most of length; abaxial scales absent. Ultimate segments narrowly elliptic to elongate-deltate, not beadlike, the largest 3--7 mm, abaxially and adaxially sparsely hirsute to glabrescent. False indusia marginal to obscurely inframarginal, somewhat differentiated, 0.1--0.4 mm wide. Sori ± continuous around segment margins. Sporangia containing 32 spores. n = 2 n = 87, apogamous.
Sporulating summer--fall. Rocky slopes, cliffs, and ledges, usually on limestone; 100--2000 m; Ala., Ariz., Ark., Ga., Kans., Ky., La., Mo., N.Mex., N.C., Okla., Tenn., Tex., Va.; Mexico.
Plants of Cheilanthes alabamensis occurring in the flora are apogamous triploids; a sexual diploid cytotype has been found in Nuevo León, Mexico (M. D. Windham, unpublished). Given the high degree of morphologic similarity between the two cytotypes, the North American triploid probably was derived from the Mexican diploid through autopolyploidy. In the flora, Cheilanthes alabamensis is most often confused with C . microphylla , from which it is distinguished by having thicker stems, mostly green costae, and 32-spored sporangia.
Common Name: Alabama lipfern Etymology: Cheilanthes is from Greek cheilos for lip and anthos for flower, while alabamensis means of or from Alabama. Synonyms: Pellaea alabemensis
Rhizome rather shortly creeping, its numerous scales linear-subulate, 2-3 mm נ0.25 mm or less, orange-brown, concolorous; lvs not closely tufted, 11-30 cm, the 2-9 cm petiole equaling or shorter than the blade, black, hairy on the upper side, not scaly; blade lance-linear, 2-4.5 cm wide, bipinnate to bipinnate-pinnatifid, glabrous or with a few scattered septate hairs; pinnae 18-25 pairs; pinnules oblong or linear-oblong, 2-8 mm, acute, entire or auriculate at the upper base or pinnatifid with 1-3 pairs of segments, the margins inrolled and with a modified, indusial edge; 2n=87 (triploid). Calcareous bluffs and rocks; sw. Va. to Tenn., and Mo., s. and w. to Ga., Tex., Ariz., and Mex.
Gleason, Henry A. & Cronquist, Arthur J. 1991. Manual of vascular plants of northeastern United States and adjacent Canada. lxxv + 910 pp.