Contr. U.S. Natl. Herb. 1: 61. 1890.
Stem scales mostly bicolored, margins black, broad and poorly defined, thick, ciliate-denticulate. Leaves 5–15 cm. Petiole black to dark-brown, much shorter than blade, rounded adaxially, sparsely glandular farinose, bearing needlelike, multicelled hairs and ciliate scales. Blade lanceolate, 2-pinnate-pinnatifid, 3–6 times longer than wide, abaxially with conspicuous whitish farina and shiny, dark-brown, needlelike hairs scattered along rachises and costae, adaxially distinctly glandular; basal pinnae equal to or slightly smaller than adjacent pair, ± equilateral, proximal basiscopic pinnules not greatly enlarged. Ultimate segments sessile to subsessile, narrowly adnate to costae; segment margins slightly recurved, rarely concealing sporangia. Sporangia containing 64 spores.
Phenology: Sporulating summer–fall.
Habitat: Calcareous cliffs and ledges, usually on limestone
Elevation: 200–1700 m
Notholaena nealleyi often has been treated as a variety of the Mexican species N. schaffneri (Fournier) L. Underwood ex Davenport, but recent studies (Windham, unpublished data) suggest that it may represent an allotetraploid hybrid between diploid N. schaffneri and another, as yet unidentified, species. Results of these studies, combined with morphologic differences and geographic isolation, favor the recognition of N. nealleyi as a distinct species.