This is the second entry for the flora of the Bar None Ranch in southwestern Mason County, Texas. The account of succulents and shrubs can be found here.
When you're in the Texas Hill Country, you often don't think to look for all of the species of ferns that have made this region home. Ferns growing among cacti seems counter-intuitive. This site did not disappoint.
Pellaea ovata is a species of fern found in about 20 Texas counties from the Big Bend region east to the Hill Country. The striking contrast of the copper-colored stems to the shades of green found on the leaves make this an especially attractive fern.
I have previously recorded Cheilanthes alabamensis at the Double Eagle Ranch in Burnet County, Texas, to the east of this site. This species is found from Texas, north to Kansas, and east to Georgia, typically on limestone cliffs.
Unlike the more arid fern species observed on this site, Adiantum capillus-veneris requires nearly constant moisture and can sometimes be fully submerged in water, often flowing. The habitat where this particular specimen was found is at the mouth of a spring, the roots of the plant being shaded by adjacent vegetation while the fronds receive more sunlight.
Astrolepis integerrima is an arid fern growing from western Texas to Arizona, usually in a shallow growing medium atop limestone or granite. This species is believed to be a naturally-occurring hybrid of A. cochisensis and an unnamed species in Mexico. A. sinuata is a Cloakfern that has become popular in the nursery industry.
Creating a wonderful diorama, the contrasting textures of ferns, cacti, and limestone display classic Texas Hill Country flora. With A. integerrima in the background, A. cochisensis is pictured here in the foreground. One can clearly see the differences in the growing habits between the two species.
Flowering annuals and perennials will be covered in a third post.