Holotype of Lecanopteris spinosa mounted on a herbarium sheet in the Museum collection © Natural History Museum, London
Lecanopteris is in the large global family, Polypodiaceae. 13 species of Lecanopteris are currently recognised.
Lecanopteris has been split by some researchers into 2 genera (or into 2 sections of Lecanopteris) on the basis of 2 main features:
L. spinosa is intermediate between these 2 groups, having no scales but with sori not marginal. Thus its discovery supported the recognition of a single genus.
Subsequent research suggested that since Myrmecopteris seemed to be closely related to the genus Phymatodes, Lecanopteris in the broad sense could not be monophyletic and the 2 subgenera might have had different origins. However, more recent DNA studies support Lecanopteris as a monophyletic genus comprising closely related species derived from a common ancestor.
Lecanopteris spinosa - rhizome of the holotype specimen in the Museum collection © P Lund, Natural History Museum, London
In Lecanopteris spinosa the rhizome is:
The morphology and internal structure of the rhizome varies in complexity according to the species. Most have a single gallery running through the rhizome and into the side branches but a few, including Lecanopteris spinosa, have a much more complex system of interconnecting galleries and chambers.
The fronds are:
The sori are:
Lecanopteris spinosa is unlikely to be confused with other species of Lecanopteris due to its unique combination of characters:
The process by which water and nutrients are absorbed and conveyed to the plant tissues and organs.
Part of a plant that has been modified to provide protection for insects, mites or fungi.
Plants that grow on another plant for support but are not parasitic.
Not obligatory - can complete its life cycle independently.
With a waxy blue-green sheen.
A structure that covers the sorus.
Descended from a single common ancestor.
A fern's midrib.
A fern's stem.
Group of sporangia.