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any of about 150 species of ferns of the genus Cheilanthes (family Pteridaceae), found in tropical and temperate regions, often in dry or seasonally dry climates. Most are small, sturdy, often evergreen plants that thrive in dry and rocky areas. The leaves arise directly from the rootstocks and are often covered with dense hairs or scales. Spore-bearing structures (sporangia) occur at the ends of veins and are protected by the leaf margins, which curl over them.