Rock-loving small or medium-sized ferns, with nearly uniform leaves, the blades 1-3-pinnate, smooth, the fertile divisions commonly narrower than the sterile. Sori roundish or elongate, on the free veins, usually confluent in a submarginal line. Indusium formed by the reflexed margins of the segments. [Greek, alluding to the dark-colored stipes.]

About 50 to 60 species of wide geographic distribution. Besides the following several occur in the western and southwestern United States. Type species: Pellaea atropurpurea (L.) Link.

Blades pinnate or 2-pinnate with large pinnules.




Blades small. 3-pinnate, the pinnules narrow.




1. Pellaea Atropurpurea (L.) Link. Purple-Stemmed Cliff-Brake

Fig. 76

Pteris atropurpurea L. Sp. PI. 1076. 1753-

Pellaea atropurpurea Link, Fil. Hort. Berol. 59.


P. glabella Mett.; Kuhn, Linnaea 36: 87. 1869.

Rootstock short, densely clothed with long-attenuate rusty scales. Stipes tufted, 2'-8' long, dark purple, smooth, or, with the rachis, more or less pubescent with hair-like chaff; blades coriaceous, lanceolate, ovate-lanceolate or deltoid-ovate, 4'-12' long, 2'-6' wide, simply pinnate, or below 2-pinnate; pinnules and upper pinnae 1'-2' long, glabrous, or sparsely fibrillose below, 3" or less wide, short-stalked or sessile; veins obscure.

On rocks, preferring limestone, Ontario to British Columbia and Mackenzie, Georgia, Mississippi, Texas and California. Reported from northern Mexico. June-Sept. Clayton's Cliff-brake, Rock- or Winter-brake, Indian's Dream.

1 Pellaea Atropurpurea L Link Purple Stemmed Cliff 761 Pellaea Atropurpurea L Link Purple Stemmed Cliff 77

2. Pellea Densa (Brack.) Hook. Oregon Or Clayton's Cliff-Brake

Fig. 77

Onychium densum Brack. Fil. U. S. Expl. Exp.

120. 1854. Pellaea densa Hook. Sp. Fil. 2: 150. 1858.

Rootstocks slender, creeping, entangled, chaffy with narrow blackish scales. Stipes numerous, densely tufted, wiry, slender, light brown, 3'-9' long; blades ovate or triangular-oblong, 1'-3' long, densely 3-pinnate, the segments 3"-6" long, linear, nearly sessile, acuminate or mucronate, those of the fertile blades tapering at each end, with narrowly recurved margins; indusium distinctly scarious; segments of the rarely sterile blades broader and serrate.

Mt. Albert, Gaspe, Quebec and Grey county, Ontario; British Columbia to Montana, Wyoming and California. Summer. Indian's Dream.