Latin squama, scale,+ -ger, carrying, bear-ing, in reference to the scaly fronds of this species.
Plants medium-sized to large, scaly. Rhizomes medium-creeping. Fronds to 160 cm long. Stipes adaxially rounded (on living plants, often grooved on dried specimens) about 1/2 frond length, straw-colored, heavily clothed with curly, Iong-lanceolate, pale tan scales, and scattered chainlike hairs. Blades 2-to 3-pinnate-pinnatisect, elongate-deltate, medium to dark green, chartaceous; rachises, pinnae rachises, and costules all covered with scales on abaxial surfaces; both surfaces of blade with numerous chain-like hairs and many small, scattered glandular hairs. Pinnae 10-17 pairs, stalked to adnate, CYCLOSORUS Link basiscopic pinnules larger. Ultimate segments sessile, lanceolate to subfalcate, curving toward tips of pinnules, tips acute, small triangular lobes present on larger segments, costae covered with small, triangular, pale tan scales. Veins free, unforked. Sori medial. Indusia with marginal glandular hairs.
A federally listed endangered species, found in small clusters in mesic forests, 180-1,030 m, all major islands except Hawai 'i. Possibly now extinct on Kaua 'i.
Ctenitis squamigera, usually a large fern, may be easily recognized in the field by its heavy covering of scales on the stipes and rachises; presence of chainlike hairs on the stipes, rachises, costae, and costules; stipes usually 1/2 as long as the fronds; and its general scaly quality.