Cheilanthes – Lip Fern –
There are about 150 or more, mainly evergreen ferns, in this genus. They are distributes worldwide. They are among the most drought resistant of ferns, often growing between rocks, frequently in deserts or near deserts, the fronds shrivel in periods of drought and recover after rain. They have erect or creeping rhizomes, producing dense clumps of small, pinnate to 3 pinnate, usually dull green fronds on shiny black stalks. The undersides of the leaf blades may be white mealy and covered with minute hairs or scales. Spores are formed at the margins of the frond segments, which curl under to protect them. In dry climates, grow in a scree bed, rock garden, or in a stone wall.
Grow in sharply drained, gritty, humus rich soil in full sun, and allow plants to dehisce naturally.
C. tomentosa – Hairy Lip Fern – This evergreen fern found from Southern Pennsylvania to New Mexico grows on neutral or acidic rock reaching 12″ tall and 16″ wide. From erect rhizomes sprouts lance shaped, pinnatifid to 2 pinnate fronds, 6-12″ long, have rounded, dark gray green segments, covered with silvery scales beneath. Stalks are purplish black with hair like scales.