Thyrsopteris elegans is the only living species of the Thyrsopteridaceae, a family of tree ferns that was diverse and widespread during the Mesozoic. Cretaceous fossils are known from mainland Chile, but nowadays Thyrsopteris is endemic to the Juan Fernández Islands (a group of volcanic islands ca. 670 km off the coast of Chile). It is unusual by the sori arranged in grape-like clusters, which are restricted to the proximal pinnae. The wonderful photographs of this post were taken by Dean G. Kelch, primary botanist at the California Department of Food and Agriculture. The habitat photo shows a cloud forest on Isla Robinson Crusoe with Blechnum cycadifolium, Drimys confertifolia, Gunnera peltata, Myrceugenia fernandeziana, and Thyrsopteris elegans.


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