Sunday, March 6, 2011

Phyllitis scolopendrium, deer tongue

Deer's tongue, Phyllitis scolopendrium synonymous with Asplenium scolopendrium owes its popular name to the shape of their fronds that look like long, narrow tongue of the deer. Its scientific name is composed of a Greek word "Phyllitis" of phyllon, meaning leaf, by its  simple and not pinnate fronds and a Latin word "scolopendrium" which refers to the shape of its fronds centipede, which tend to be similar to undulations of the body segments of the worm. Belongs to the great family of the Aspleniaceae. Its chromosome number is diploid with 2n = 72, n = 36. 

Copy of deer tongue grown in the Botanical Garden of Soller on the island of Mallorca. On this island Phyllitis scolopendrium fern is extremely low. The mother's copy of the photo, from which spores were obtained for culture, lives in a deep ditch in a vertical cave in Majorca called "Sa Cova des cero" (The Deer Cave) that is in the Serra de Na Burguesa. To access the ferns should be climbing down with ropes. Only under these conditions of humidity and permanent shadow survives the hot and dry summers of Mallorca. 

Unlike the exemplary Mallorca, this vigorous Phyllitis scolopendrium lives in broad daylight in a clearing in a laurel forest of the island of Faial in the Azores Archipelago. These Atlantic islands enjoy a warm and humid climate throughout the year thanks to a constant supply of moisture from the horizontal rain, typical of the Macaronesia. Particularly striking is the mark of sori in the face of the fronds, which gives them a segmented or striatum. 

Two other individuals on a slope of the volcano crater called Caldeira do Faial in the Azores. To the left are several sheets of the Azorean endemism Hedera azorica and right down a few fronds of invasive alien Deparia petersenii.
The Phyllitis scolopendrium live in Europe, the Mediterranean, the Azores and Madeira. The farther south than its presence is rare. Their preferred habitat is forests, caverns, caves, ravines, gullies and shady and cool walls with constant humidity throughout the year. 

One of the characteristics of the Phyllitis scolopendrium the base cordate with rounded divaricated auricula and petiole no shorter than the lamina, which is lanceolate in adult and oblong-lanceolate in young copies and can reach up to 60 cms. The base with rounded and not divaricated auricula distinguish it from the Phyllitis sagittata, which in the adult specimens usually have acute and divaricated. .

Underside of a frond with large mature sori arranged parallel to each side of midrib of the blade. 

Detail of linear, parallel to each other and unequal sori that can reach up to 3 cm. Indusium entire margin in the photo is not because it has been opened and the sporangia are deployed, towering above the indusium.

Sporangium of Phyllitis scolopendrium already deployed with the empty bag after the dispersal of spores.

Small spores deer tongue. Its size is generally not exceed 33 microns, which indicates a diploid ferns.

Tiny sporophytes of Phyllitis scolopendrium with his first frond, which has sprung from a fertilized oosphere of a gametophyte. 

Luxuriant population of Phyllitis scolopendrium gametophytes after mass germination of spores dispersed sporangia of an old copy which is a few meters above. Picture taken at Caldeira do Faial in the Azores. They are some sporophytes with fronds at different stages of growth.

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