Cheilanthes hirta belongs to the Adiantaceae family. From the continually accumulating botanical literature this species appears to have travelled widely within the classification system. It used to be at home in the families of Pteridaceae and Sinopteridaceae and maybe elsewhere. Whether these travels are over, remains to be seen!
Geographically the plant is also world-wise, living from South Africa to central Africa in countries like Angola and Kenya. This specimen is growing happily in the Karoo near Beaufort West (Shearing and Van Heerden, 2008; JSTOR; www.zimbabweflora.co.za).
Lack of comprehensive information sometimes give plants checkered careers in academia; more so among plant lover amateurs. Plant identity loss among people gives rise to makeshift solutions and ramblings on the sidetracks of the uninformed. Fanciful nom de plumes, “undercover” labels, disputes and half-truths abound. Plants travelling incognito by name, genus or family at nurseries, botanical gardens, where workers forget or children play with labels, cause havoc. But roses have been found to retain their fragrance, whatever they may be called! So the enthusiasts will not be detracted.
There is frustration, however, because there are just too many species and names to master. Open access to literature, sustaining the formal nomenclature system, well run botanical gardens, professionalism in the horticulture and nursery business, education and avid interest are the best resources for dealing with this.
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