Plants terrestrial or on rock. Stems ± compact, short-creeping, ascending at tip, branched; scales mostly dark brown, often with very narrow margin of lighter color, lanceolate, margins entire. Leaves monomorphic to somewhat dimorphic, crowded, 8--35 cm. Petiole usually dark reddish brown, with single groove adaxially, glabrous, with single vascular bundle. Blade ovate-triangular, deltate, or pentagonal, 3--4(--5)-pinnate, thick to thin, abaxially glabrous, adaxially lustrous, striate, glabrous; rachis straight. Ultimate segments of blades short-stalked or with base narrowed and decurrent onto costa or costule-bearing segments, linear to lanceolate, mostly 0.5--1.3 mm wide; stalks greenish, not darkened; fertile margins recurved. Veins of ultimate segments obscure, free, ± pinnate and unbranched. False indusia appearing inframarginal, scarious, whitish, broad, partly concealing sporangia. Sporangia in marginal, discrete or continuous sori on abaxial surface, containing 64 spores, lacking paraphyses and glands. Spores dark brown, tetrahedral-globose, trilete, reticulate, equatorial flange absent. x = 30. Terrestrial, often at bases of boulders or in rock crevices, in dry to moist, montane areas, woodlands or chaparral, sometimes on ultramafic rocks. D. B. Lellinger (1968) recognized Aspidotis as separate from Cheilanthes based on its elongate, distantly dentate segments with striate shining surface and on its broad, scarious indusia.
Lvs glabrous, evergreen, shiny, often dimorphic; petiole slender and wiry, mostly brown; blade 2-4 times pinnate, the ultimate segments ±elongate, distantly toothed, with free veins; margins of the fertile segments reflexed and abruptly white-scarious (in ours), forming a well defined common false indusium for the submarginal sori; small, mesophytic rock-ferns with a short rhizome beset with firm, narrow, dark brown scales. 3 Amer., 1 Afr.
Gleason, Henry A. & Cronquist, Arthur J. 1991. Manual of vascular plants of northeastern United States and adjacent Canada. lxxv + 910 pp.