Stems compact, ascending, stout, 5--10 mm diam.; scales bicolored, linear-subulate, 0.1--0.3 mm wide, centers black, thick, margins brown, thin, erose-dentate. Leaves monomorphic, clustered on stem, 6--40 cm; croziers sparsely villous. Petiole dark brown, lustrous, flattened or slightly grooved adaxially, without prominent articulation lines. Blade linear-oblong, 2-pinnate proximally, 1.5--5 cm wide; rachis brown throughout, straight, shallowly grooved adaxially, usually glabrous. Pinnae perpendicular to rachis or slightly ascending, not decurrent on rachis, usually with 3--9 ultimate segments; costae straight, 2--20 mm, usually shorter than ultimate segments. Ultimate segments narrowly oblong, 5--20 mm, leathery, glabrous; margins recurved on fertile segments, usually covering less than 1/2 abaxial surface, borders whitish, crenulate; apex mucronate. Veins of ultimate segments obscure. Sporangia long-stalked, containing 64 spores, intermixed with sparse farina-producing glands. 2 n = 116. Sporulating summer--fall. Cliffs and rocky slopes, on a variety of acidic to mildly basic substrates; 300--2900 m; Ariz., Colo., N.Mex., N.C., Okla., Tex., Utah; n Mexico. W. H. Wagner Jr. (1965) suggested that Pellaea wrightiana was a fertile allotetraploid hybrid between P . truncata (as P . longimucronata ) and P . ternifolia . This hypothesis has been confirmed by isozyme analyses (M. D. Windham 1988). Pellaea wrightiana is therefore treated as a distinct species rather than a variety of P . ternifolia . This tetraploid species hybridizes with P . truncata and P . ternifolia subsp. arizonica to produce sterile triploids and tetraploids with intermediate morphology and malformed spores. Pellaea wrightiana has also hybridized with P . atropurpurea to form a rare apogamous pentaploid known only from western Oklahoma.
General: Monomorphic leaves clustered on stem 6-40 cm, stem compact, ascending, stout, 5-10 mm in diameter; sparsely villous croziers. Leaves: On dark brown petiole, lustrous, flattened or slightly grooved above; blade, linear oblong, 2-pinnate below, 1.5-5 cm wide; rachis brown throughout, straight, shallowly grooved above, glabrous; pinnae perpendicular to rachis or slightly ascending, usually with 3-9 ultimate segments; straight costae, 2-20 mm, usually shorter than ultimate segments, which are narrowly oblong, 5-20 mm, leathery and glabrous; margins recurved on fertile segments, covering less than half the lower surface, apex mucronate, borders whitish and crenulate. Sporangia: Long-stalked with 64 spores, sori concealed beneath the reflexed margins. Ecology: Found on rocky slopes and cliffs on acidic to mildly basic substrates from 3,000-8,000 ft (914-2438 m); sporulates summer-fall. Notes: Distinguished from other Pellaea by the linear to lanceolate blades. But with the hybridization of this species, it is difficult to really tell it apart from some of them. Collect if you are not sure. Etymology: Pellaea is from the Greek pellaios, dark, alluding to the stalk, while wrightiana is named for Charles C. Wright (1811-1885) an American botanical explorer and collector who worked for Asa Gray in Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona. Sources: FNA 1993, Dittman et al. 1954, Kearney and Peebles 1969