Thelypteris kunthii

Thelypteris kunthii (Desv.) Morton

Common Names: Southern Shield Fern

Family: Thelypteridaceae (formerly Polypodiaceae)

Habit: Thelypteris kunthii grows from a rhizome that is up to 1 cm thick. The rhizome is covered with tan scales. The fronds are arranged in clumps, are up to 75 cm in length and are pinnately compound. The pinnae are deeply lobed.  There are 15-25 pinnae oppositely arranged, oblong with an acute apex. The fronds are slightly triangular in outline. The abaxial surface is glandular.

The sporangia occur in “C-shaped” sori along the center of the pinnae lobes on the mid vein.

Habitat: Thelypteris kunthii grows in rocky areas and the walls of sink holes.

Distribution: Thelypteris kunthii occurs throughout the Lucayan Archipelago as well as south Florida, the entire Caribbean region and Mexico south to South America.

Medicinal/Cultural/Economic usage: Thelypteris kunthii is not known to be used medicinally in the Lucayan Archipelago.