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CHEILANTHES wootonii

Image of Cheilanthes wootonii

Family

Pteridaceae

Botanical Name

CHEILANTHES wootonii

Plant Common Name

Beaded Lipfern, Lipfern

Special Notice

This entry has yet to be reviewed and approved by L2G editors.

General Description

Few people would think ferns grow in arid climates, but the beaded lipfern is a notable and beautiful exception. This dense, spreading fern -- via elongating rhizomes -- naturally inhabits rocky slopes and ledges across the American Southwest and into northwestern Mexico. The habitat is at higher elevations, and this species tends to proliferate on east-facing slopes nestled at the base of boulders or shrubs that cast protective shade.

Beaded lipfern produces upright, triangular-shaped fronds of bright lime green. The tiny leaflets in the frond are rounded and bead-like, usually with edges that curl under. The top surface of the fronds is smooth, but the underside is coarse and lined with overlapping brown scales. From summer into fall, fertile fronds produce rusty orange sori bodies on their undersides. Ferns reproduce by spores released from these sori, not with flowers and seeds. Excessive winter cold or a prolonged drought causes many fronds to die off.

Retain natural colonies of beaded lipfern if encountered on your property. Nursery-grown plants may be transplanted into partially shaded rock gardens or in the nooks of a shaded stone retaining wall. This fern looks its best when allowed to ramble around attractive boulders and hillside shrubs, creating a naturalistic setting in the landscape.

Characteristics

  • AHS Heat Zone

    7 - 1

  • USDA Hardiness Zone

    7 - 9

  • Sunset Zone

    2a, 2b, 7, 10, 11, 12

  • Plant Type

    Fern

  • Sun Exposure

    Partial Sun, Partial Shade

  • Height

    6"-15" / 15.2cm - 38.1cm

  • Width

    2'-5' / 0.6m - 1.5m

  • Native To

    South-Central United States, Southwestern United States, California, Mexico

Growing Conditions

  • Soil pH

    Acidic, Neutral

  • Soil Drainage

    Well Drained

  • Soil type

    Clay, Loam

  • Tolerances

    Drought

  • Growth Rate

    Slow

  • Water Requirements

    Drought Tolerant

  • Habit

    Spreading

Ornamental Features

  • Flower Interest

    None

  • Foliage Color (Spring)

    Lime Green

  • Foliage Color (Summer)

    Lime Green

  • Foliage Color (Fall)

    Lime Green, Yellow Green

  • Foliage Color (Winter)

    Lime Green, Yellow Green, Bronze

  • Fragrant Flowers

    No

  • Fragrant Fruit

    No

  • Fragrant Foliage

    No

  • Bark or Stem Fragrant

    No

  • Repeat Bloomer

    No

  • Showy Fruit

    No

  • Edible Fruit

    No

  • Showy Foliage

    Yes

  • Foliage Texture

    Fine

  • Foliage Sheen

    Glossy

  • Evergreen

    Semi-Evergreen

  • Showy Bark

    No

Special Characteristics

  • Usage

    Groundcover, Rock Garden / Wall

  • Sharp or Has Thorns

    No

  • Invasive

    No

  • Self-Sowing

    No