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Dicranopteris Bernh.

Terrestrial ferns of moderate to large size with erect or scandent and thicket-forming fronds. Rhizome underground, long creeping, dichotomously branched, a single frond at the base of each fork, protostelic, apex bearing branched multicellular hairs. Fronds of indeterminate growth, with a periodically dormant apex producing a series of pairs of primary lateral branches along the rachis, often subtended by a pair of reduced, stipule-like leaflets, the primary branches pseudodichotomously divided with a dormant apex, into equal or unequal secondary branches that may be similarly divided to several orders, sometimes with deflexed accessory branches inserted basiscopically at the base of the main branchings, the ultimate determinate branches and accessory branches deeply pinnatifid, lobed almost to the costa, the ultimate segments oblong, margin entire, the veins free, at least twice-forked, pinnately arranged each side of an obvious costule. Sori several to each lobe, attached to a small receptacle on the acroscopic branch of a vein group, exindusiate, paraphyses absent; sporangia 8-15 or more, smaller than other Fleicheniaceae, sessile, annulus complete and oblique. Spores monolete or trilete, smooth and translucent.

Dicranopetris linearis:

Varieties in Papuasia

1a. Accessory branches not always present at the ultimate forks 2
Accessory branches always present at the ultimate forks 7
2a. Branches at each fork of lateral branch system +/-equal; lateral branch systems forked 1-3 times 3
Branches at successive forks alternately unequal; lateral branch systems of well-grown plants forked at least 3 times 5
3a. Hairs not persistent on lower surface of veins var. linearis
Hairs persistent along lower surface of veins 4
4a. Hairs long, very finely wooly and entangled; no distinct separate hairs present var. ferruginea
Hairs coarse, shorter, +/- entangled on costules; some distinctly separate on veins var. subferruginea
5a. Hairs very slender, their long branches much crisped and entangled; no separate short hairs var. ferruginea
Hairs coarser and shorter, some +/- crisped and entangled, but separate short hairs also present 6
6a. Hairs confined to bases of some of the costules var. linearis
Hairs more abundent on costules, some also on veins var. subferruginea
7a. Accessory branches, especially the lower ones, distinctly below the fork; branches at successive forks alternately somewhat unequal var. demota
Accessory branches opposite the fork or distinctly above it; branching usually equal at all forks 8
8a. Costules on ultimate branches 5-7 mm apart; texture subcoriaceous; lower surface quite glabrous; accessory branches at ultimate forks almost opposite the forks var. montana
Costules on ultimate branches 3.5-4.5 mm apart; texture think; some rusty hairs often on the lower surface; accessory branches at ultimate forks 3-4 mm above the fork var. altissima