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Notholaena aureolina clade

Yellow Cloakferns and allies

Carl Rothfels
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taxon links [up-->]Notholaena brachypus [up-->]Notholaena jaliscana [up-->]Notholaena aureolina [up-->]Notholaena ochracea [down<--]notholaenids Interpreting the tree
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Containing group: notholaenids


The N. aureolina clade is a rather disparate assemblage of species from Mexico and northern Central America that are typically bright yellow or orange farinose (three of four species) with well-developed false indusia (modified fertile leaf margins that curve over the sporangia). The farinose members (N. aureolina, N. jaliscana, and N. ochracea) have only recently been given names under Notholaena (Yatskievych and Arbeláez, 2008); historically, due to their well-developed false indusia, they were treated in Cheilanthes.


Notholaena aureolina and N. jaliscana are very likely to be sister species, although N. jaliscana has not been included in a phylogenetic study to date. They are both bright yellow-farinose with the bipinnate-pinnatifid leaf dissection typical of the core Notholaena, from which they differ in farina color and by possessing false indusia. Notholaena ochracea also has prominent false indusia, but has bright orange farina, and a tendency for its leaves to be less finely cut (becoming bluntly once-pinnate towards the tips). This leaf dissection is reminiscent of the last species in the clade, N. brachypus, which is consistently pinnate-pinnatifid. Notholaena brachypus, however, is not farinose. Its leaf undersides are instead covered with a dense layer of hairs and broad scales.

Discussion of Phylogenetic Relationships

The phylogenetic proximity of N. aureolina (under the name Cheilanthes aurea) and Notholaena/Cheiloplecton/Cheilanthes leucopoda has been resolved in several studies (Gastony and Rollo, 1995; Gastony and Rollo, 1998; Schuettpelz et al., 2007) but Rothfels et al. (2008) were the first to show that the N. aureolina clade is indeed a clade, is well-supported, and is nested within Notholaena s.s.

Other Names for Notholaena aureolina clade


Gastony, G. J., and D. R. Rollo. 1995. Phylogeny and generic circumscriptions of cheilanthoid ferns (Pteridaceae: Cheilanthoideae) inferred from rbcL nucleotide sequences. American Fern Journal 85:341-360.

Gastony, G. J., and D. R. Rollo. 1998. Cheilanthoid ferns (Pteridaceae: Cheilanthoideae) in the southwestern United States and adjacent Mexico--A molecular phylogenetic reassessment of generic lines. Aliso 17:131-144.

Mickel, J. T., and A. R. Smith. 2004. The Pteridophytes of Mexico. The New York Botanical Garden Press, New York.

Rothfels, C. J., M. D. Windham, A. L. Grusz, G. J. Gastony, and K. M. Pryer. 2008. Toward a monophyletic Notholaena (Pteridaceae): Resolving patterns of evolutionary convergence in xeric-adapted ferns Taxon 57:712-724.

Schuettpelz, E., H. Schneider, L. Huiet, M. D. Windham, and K. M. Pryer. 2007. A molecular phylogeny of the fern family Pteridaceae: assessing overall relationships and the affinities of previously unsampled genera. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 44:1172-1185.

Tryon, R. M. 1956. A revision of the American species of Notholaena. Contributions from the Gray Herbarium 179:1-106.

Windham, M. D., L. Huiet, E. Schuettpelz, C. J. Rothfels, J. Beck, A. L. Grusz, G. Yatskievych, and K. M. Pryer. 2008. Using plastid and nuclear DNA sequences to redraw generic boundaries and demystify species complexes in cheilanthoid ferns. American Fern Journal (in review).

Yatskievych, G., and A. L. A. ArbelŠez. 2008. A new species and three generic transfers in the fern genus Notholaena (Pteridaceae). Novon 18:120-124.

Title Illustrations
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Scientific Name Notholaena brachypus
Location Nicaragua, Pueblo Nuevo
Acknowledgements Reproduced with permission from PlantSystematics.org
Specimen Condition Live Specimen
Copyright © 2004
Scientific Name Notholaena ochracea
Location Mexico, Mexico
Specimen Condition Live Specimen
Identified By C.J.Rothfels
Image Use creative commons This media file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial License - Version 3.0.
Copyright © 2009 Carl Rothfels
About This Page

Carl Rothfels
Duke University, Durham, North Carolina, USA

Correspondence regarding this page should be directed to Carl Rothfels at

Page: Tree of Life Notholaena aureolina clade. Yellow Cloakferns and allies. Authored by Carl Rothfels. The TEXT of this page is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial License - Version 3.0. Note that images and other media featured on this page are each governed by their own license, and they may or may not be available for reuse. Click on an image or a media link to access the media data window, which provides the relevant licensing information. For the general terms and conditions of ToL material reuse and redistribution, please see the Tree of Life Copyright Policies.

Citing this page:

Rothfels, Carl. 2008. Notholaena aureolina clade. Yellow Cloakferns and allies. Version 23 December 2008 (under construction). http://tolweb.org/Notholaena_aureolina_clade/133580/2008.12.23 in The Tree of Life Web Project, http://tolweb.org/

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