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Notholaena jacalensis Pray 1967

Pray's Cloakfern

Carl Rothfels
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Containing group: core Notholaena


I know of only two locations for this unusual species. It was first described from chalky limestone roadside rockcuts outside of the town of Jacala, Hidalgo (Pray, 1967), where it is still locally common today (at least as recently as August 2009). It is also found (and is also locally common) in the gypsum outcrops of Municipio San Nicolas Tolentino, San Luis Potosí, which it shares with the extremely local endemic Pellaea ribae (known from no other location). At the latter site, N. jacalensis plants can be quite large, approaching N. copelandii in size.


Notholaena jacalensis most closely resembles a small version of N. copelandii, and thus its phylogenetic position with N. bryopoda and N. neglecta is rather surprising. Interestingly, in the original description, Pray (1967) suggests that N. jacalensis shares a resemblance with N. greggii (and thus with N. bryopoda by extension), an observation worth further attention in light of our molecular data. From Notholaena copelandii it differs in its narrower leaf, more-gradual tapering of the leaf tip, widely spaced segments, and purported by farina colour (with N. jacalensis having light yellow farina, versus the white farina of N. copelandii). However, in the field, the farina colour of N. jacalensis seemed to vary based on exposure and age, with some individuals distinctly yellowish, and others nearly white. Notholaena jacalensis also differs from N. copelandii in its rhizome scales, which are smooth, and resemble those of N. candida. With Notholaena bryopoda and greggii it shares the widely spaced segments, and the slight narrowing of the bases of the ultimate segments (Pray 1967).

Discussion of Phylogenetic Relationships

Single-locus chloroplast data (Rothfels unpublished) place N. jacalensis in a polytomy with N. bryopoda and N. neglecta, well within core Notholaena II.

Other Names for Notholaena jacalensis Pray 1967


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

Pray, T. R. 1967. A new species of Notholaena from Mexico. American Fern Journal 57:101--103.

Title Illustrations
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Scientific Name Notholaena jacalensis
Location San Luis Potosí, 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 © 2010 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 jacalensis Pray 1967. Pray's Cloakfern. 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. 2010. Notholaena jacalensis Pray 1967. Pray's Cloakfern. Version 07 January 2010 (under construction). http://tolweb.org/Notholaena_jacalensis/133609/2010.01.07 in The Tree of Life Web Project, http://tolweb.org/

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