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Actinostachys pennula (Sw.) Hook.
Ray fern

Actinostachys pennula
Copyright by: Mike Rosenthal, February 2011
In habitat, Lee County, Florida, USA; Enlarge

Family: Schizaeaceae

Group: Pteridophyte

Substrate: Terrestrial

Habit: Herb

Perennation: Perennial

Native Range: Peninsular Florida, the West Indies (Cuba, Puerto Rico, Lesser Antilles), southern Mexico, Central America and South America. This species is very rare outside of South America.

Map of Florida Locations

NatureServe Global Status: Secure

State of Florida Status: Endangered

Florida Natural Areas Inventory State Status: Critically Imperiled

IRC SOUTH FLORIDA Status: Critically Imperiled

SOUTH FLORIDA Occurrence: Present

SOUTH FLORIDA Native Status: Native

SOUTH FLORIDA Cultivated Status: Not Cultivated

Comments: At the time of the publication of Rare Plants of South Florida (Gann, Bradley & Woodmansee 2002), the only known extant population of A. pennula in South Florida was at Arthur R. Marshall Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge in Palm Beach County. Since that time, IRC biologists have discovered three additional populations. In 2003, then IRC biologists Steven Woodmansee and Jimi Sadle found new populations in Big Cypress National Preserve and at Prairie Pines Preserve in Lee County (Woodmansee & Sadle 2005). In 2006, then IRC biologist Keith Bradley and Miami-Dade County biologist Gwen Burzycki found a new population in the South Dade Wetlands, just a few miles from a historical report from what is now Everglades National Park. Even with this new information, A. pennula still meets IRC's criteria of Critically Imperiled in South Florida.

See also, IRC’s report Vascular plant species of management concern in Everglades National Park (Gann 2015), page 49.

Synonyms: Schizaea pennula.

Other data on Actinostachys pennula available from :

Actinostachys pennula has been found in the following 5 conservation areas :
Occurrence Native Status
Arthur R. Marshall Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge Present Native
Big Cypress National Preserve Present Native
Everglades National Park Presumed Extirpated Presumed Extirpated
Prairie Pines Preserve Present Native
South Dade Wetlands Present Native

Actinostachys pennula has been found in the following 4 counties :
Occurrence Native Status
Collier County Native
Lee County Native
Miami-Dade County Native
Palm Beach County Native

Actinostachys pennula has been found in the following 4 habitats :
Bayhead
Floodplain Forest
Mesic Flatwoods
Rockland Hammock

All Images:

Actinostachys pennula
Copyright by: Mike Rosenthal, February 2011
In habitat, Lee County, Florida, USA; Enlarge
Actinostachys pennula
Copyright by: George D. Gann
In habitat, El Llano Bosque de Orey, Costa Rica, 2006
Actinostachys pennula
Copyright by: Steven W. Woodmansee
In habitat, Big Cypress National Preserve, 2003
Actinostachys pennula
Copyright by: Mike Rosenthal, February 2011
In habitat, Lee County, Florida, USA; Enlarge
Actinostachys pennula
Copyright by: Steven W. Woodmansee
In habitat, Big Cypress National Preserve, 2003
Actinostachys pennula
Copyright by: Steven W. Woodmansee
In habitat, Big Cypress National Preserve, 2003
Actinostachys pennula
Copyright by: John Kunkel Small
from Ferns of Florida, 1931 (public domain)