The gametophytic generation of Polystichum pycnolepis (Dryopteridaceae), including spore germination, morphological development of the gametophytes, major vegetative features and sexual expression, was studied. Spore germination was of the Vittaria model and the developmental pattern was of the Aspidium model. Adult gametophytes were cordate and hairy, with unicellular hairs located in the margins and the surface of the prothalli. In addition, hairs of P. pycnolepis were papillate, secretory and the marginal ones septate. Gametangia were of the normal type described for leptosporangiate ferns. The gametophytes produced at first instance a high proportion of female gametophytes. Polystichum pycnolepis formed few bisexual gametophytes with scarce antheridia. No male gametophytes for this species were detected. Thus, the species seemed to be promoting intragametophytic selfing and, to a lesser extend, intergametophytic unions between bisexuals and females.
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Vol. 100 • No. 2