Stems long-creeping, 1--3 mm diam.; scales mostly uniformly brown, ovate-lanceolate, straight to slightly contorted, loosely appressed, often deciduous on older portions of stem. Leaves scattered, 7--30 cm; vernation noncircinate. Petiole usually dark brown, rounded adaxially. Blade lanceolate to ovate-deltate, 3--4-pinnate at base, 1.5--5 cm wide; rachis rounded adaxially, somewhat scaly, not pubescent. Pinnae not articulate, dark color of stalk continuing into pinna base, basal pair not conspicuously larger than adjacent pair, usually equilateral, appearing glabrous adaxially. Costae green adaxially for most of length; abaxial scales multiseriate, lanceolate-ovate, truncate or subcordate at base, without overlapping basal lobes, conspicuous, the largest 0.4--1.2 mm wide, strongly imbricate, often concealing ultimate segments, entire to denticulate, not ciliate. Ultimate segments round to oblong, beadlike, the largest 1.5--3 mm, abaxially glabrous or with a few small scales near base, adaxially glabrous. False indusia marginal, weakly differentiated, 0.05--0.25 mm wide. Sori ± continuous around segment margins. Sporangia containing 64 spores. 2 n = 60. Sporulating summer--fall. Rocky slopes and ledges; found on a variety of acidic and mildly basic substrates; 1200--3100 m; Ariz., Colo., N.Mex., Tex.; n Mexico. Young, sterile plants of Cheilanthes fendleri are occasionally misidentified as C . pringlei ; they are distinguished from that species by having rachises that are rounded (not grooved) adaxially. Cheilanthes fendleri apparently hybridizes with both C . wootonii (T. Reeves 1979) and C . covillei (M. D. Windham, unpublished).
General: Long creeping stems, 1-3 mm in diameter, scales mostly uniformly brown, ovate-lanceolate, straight to slightly contorted, loosely appressed, often deciduous on older portions of stem. Leaves: Scattered, 7-30 cm, noncircinate vernation, petiole usually dark brown, rounded above; blade lanceolate to ovate-deltate, 3-4 pinnate at base, 1.5-5 cm wide, rachis rounded above, somewhat scaly, not pubescent; pinnae not articulate, dark color of stalk continues into pinna base, usually equilateral pinna; costae green above for most of length, scales below lanceolate-ovate, truncate, not overlapping basal lobes, largest 0.4-1.2 mm wide, imbricate, not ciliate; ultimate segments round to oblong, largest 1.5-3 mm, glabrous below and above. Sporangia: Marginal false indusia, weakly differentiated, 0.05-0.25 mm wide, sori continuous around segment margins, sporangia with 64 spores. Ecology: Found on rocky slopes and cliffs from 4,000-9,500 ft (1219-2896 m); sporulating summer and fall. Notes: This species is often found on a variety of acidic and mildly basic substrates. Distinguished from C. pringlei when young by having rachises that are rounded above, not grooved and blade bracts not ciliate. Known to hybridize with both C. wootonii and C. covillei. Ethnobotany: Used as a postpartum douche and to brew a tea. Etymology: Cheilanthes is from Greek cheilos for lip and anthos for flower, while fendleri is named for Augustus Fendler (1813-1883), a German botanical collector in North and Central America. Sources: FNA 1993, Kearney and Peebles 1969