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I stumbled across this wild plant while hiking in central Texas in the Summer. The plant itself was only about a foot tall and had no flowers. I'm sure these leaves are no longer effective at collecting sunlight, so I don't know if the plant was diseased, desiccated, or if this was a natural part of its life cycle.

Googling didn't yield any useful results; can anyone tell me what kind of plant this is or at least give me some pointers? Also, please let me know what's causing the leaves to curl this way.

Click to expand full detail 1 detail 2

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Thanks to both stormy and Giacomo Catenazzi for pointing me in the right direction. After a little while looking at various species of ferns, I eventually found a match to my fern:

Star cloak fern, or Standley's cloak fern, (Notholaena standleyi)

leaves curls

Images taken from The Tree of Life Web Project © 2008 Carl Rothfels — CC BY-NC.

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I think these are some kind of ferns, and they are probably not dead.

Some ferns can "sleep" when they have no more water, and "bloom" again when they can drink again water.

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Woodsia obtusa cliff fern

This is my GUESS only; it is a xerophytic fern with blunt and rounded tips...one of its 'gifts' is being able to shade its own leaves when in drought or high heat. Some of the sites say it is rare others say not. It is also pubescent thus it's silvery color. What was the elevation where you found this guy?

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