Bull. Torrey Bot. Club 6: 191. 1877.
Stems short-creeping, usually 4–8 mm diam.; scales uniformly brown, linear-subulate, strongly contorted, loosely appressed, persistent. Leaves clustered, 6–30 cm; vernation circinate. Petiole dark-brown, flattened or slightly grooved distally on adaxial surface. Blade narrowly oblong to linear, 3-pinnate-pinnatifid at base, 1–4 cm wide; rachis flattened or slightly grooved adaxially, lacking scales, with monomorphic pubescence. Pinnae not articulate, dark color of stalk continuing into pinna base, basal pair slightly smaller than adjacent pair, ± equilateral, appearing glandular-pubescent adaxially. Costae green adaxially for most of length; abaxial scales absent. Ultimate segments oblong to lanceolate, not beadlike, the largest 3–4 mm, abaxially and adaxially glandular-pubescent with short, sticky, capitate glands. False indusia marginal, weakly differentiated, 0.05–0.25 mm wide. Sori usually discontinuous, concentrated on apical and lateral lobes. Sporangia containing 64 spores.
Phenology: Sporulating late spring–fall.
Habitat: Cliffs and rocky slopes, usually on igneous substrates
Elevation: 200–1300 m
Calif., Mexico in Baja California
Cheilanthes viscida is confined to a relatively small region in the deserts of California. Variations in spore size among populations suggest that the species may include more than one cytotype.