northern lady fern

(Athyrium filix-femina ssp. angustum)

               
Conservation Status

IUCN Red List

not yet assessed

northern lady fern

NatureServe

N5 - Secure

SNR - Unranked

Minnesota

not listed

Nativity

Native

Occurrence

Common and widespread

Habitat

Moist. Bottomland forests, moist woods, meadows, thickets, swamps, streambanks. Dappled sunlight to light shade.

Sporulation

July to October

     
Height

Fronds 11½ to 36 long

     

Identification

This is a relatively large, delicate, perennial fern that rises from a short-creeping rhizome and fibrous roots. The rhizome is sometimes semi-erect and often branched. It usually has the bases of dead stalks still attached. It often forms small colonies.

Sterile and fertile fronds are similar in appearance. The fronds are deciduous, erect, arching, 11½ to 36 long, and lacy in appearance. They form a compact, somewhat circular but irregular cluster.

The leaf stem (stipe) is 6 to 21½ long, shorter than the leafy portion (blade). It is stout and light green or straw-colored for most of its length. It is flattened at the base and becomes deeply grooved toward the top. At the base it is dark reddish-brown or black, swollen, and has 2 rows of teeth. The stipe is covered with scattered chaffy scales. The scales are brown to dark brown, linear to egg lance-shaped, 5 16 to long, and 1 16 wide.

The blade is elliptic, 12 to 30 long, 4 to 14 wide, 1 to 1½ times as long as the stipe. It is pinnately divided into 30 to 40 pairs of leaflets (pinnae). It tapers to a point with concave sides along the tip, and is widest below the middle. The 4th or 5th pair of pinnae is the largest pair. Only the lowest two pair are shortened. The lowest pair is conspicuously angled downward. The central axis of the blade (rachis) is pale green and usually hairless, sometimes sparsely glandular or hairy, sometimes with a few scattered scales.

The pinnae are oblong lance-shaped, short stalked or stalkless, and taper to a narrow point with concave sides along the tip. The longest pinnae are up to 8 long or longer, becoming shorter as they approach the tip. They are deeply, pinnately divided, with 12 to 20 segments (pinnules) per side.

The pinnules are variable. They are linear to oblong, angled at the tip, and asymmetrically wedge-shaped at the base. They are stalkless and may extend along the central axis of the pinna (costa) at the base. They are often deeply lobed (pinnatifid), cut up to halfway or more to the midrib (costule). The upper and lower surfaces are medium green to yellow-green and hairless. The veins visible on the underside are forked. They are free, meaning they do not rejoin but extend all the way to the margin. The margins are minutely toothed, tough, and firm, but elastic.

The rachis, costa, and costule have a V-shaped groove on the top. The groove of the costule connects with the groove of the costa, which connects to the groove of the rachis, which connects to the groove of the stipe.

The reproductive structures are born on the underside of the pinnules near the base. There are several clusters (sora) of spore-bearing cases (sporangia) arranged in one row on each side of the midrib halfway between the midrib and the margin. The sorus is narrowly oblong to linear, usually straight, and sometimes hooked at the end or horseshoe-shaped with the hook curled over a vein. It is covered with a protective veil (indusium). The indusium is the same shape as the sorus. It is irregularly toothed and has a fringe of hairs along the margin. It is attached to one side of the sorus.

There are 64 yellow or brown spores per sporangium.

 
Similar
Species

Northern lady fern (Athyrium filix-femina ssp. angustum f. rubellum) has a reddish stipe and rachis. The fiddleheads are reddish.

Common wood fern (Dryopteris intermedia) fronds are evergreen, not deciduous. The sori are round. The indusia are kidney-shaped and are attached at the base of the notch.

Northwestern lady fern (Athyrium filix-femina ssp. cyclosorum) scales on the stipe are much larger, up to ¾ long and 3 16 wide. The blade is about 2 times as long as the stipe. It is broadest at or just above the middle. The sorus is always hooked or horseshoe-shaped. The indusium has a fringe of longer hairs along the margin, the hairs as longer or longer than the width of the indusium. The spores are always yellow.

Spinulose wood fern (Dryopteris carthusiana) fronds are evergreen, not deciduous, and are usually smaller, no more than 30 long. The sori are round. The indusia are kidney-shaped and are attached at the base of the notch.


Distribution Distribution Map   Sources: 2, 4, 5, 7, 28.

Comments

 


Taxonomy

Order:

Polypodiales (true ferns)

 

Family:

Woodsiaceae (lady fern)

 
Parent

lady fern (Athyrium filix-femina)

 
Synonyms

Athyrium angustum

Athyrium angustum angustum

Athyrium angustum var. rubellum

Athyrium angustum var. subtripinnatum

Athyrium filix-femina var. angustum

Athyrium filix-femina var. michauxii

Athyrium filix-femina var. rubellum

 
Common
Names

common lady fern

lady fern

northeastern lady fern

northern lady fern

subarctic lady fern

subarctic ladyfern


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Glossary

costa

The central axis of a pinna, to which pinnules are attached.

 

costule

The midrib of a pinnule.

 

frond

A large leaf with many divisions: in ferns, the compound leaf, including the stipe and the blade; in mosses, a closely and regularly branched stem resembling a fern leaf; in lichens, a stalkless, leaf-like extension.

 

indusium

In ferns, a veil covering the cluster (sorus) of spore-producing structures (sporangia).

 

linear

Long, straight, and narrow, with more or less parallel sides, like a blade of grass.

 

pinna

The primary division of a compound leaf or fern frond.

 

pinnate

Having the leaflets of a compound leaf arranged on opposite sides of a common stalk.

 

pinnatifid

Deeply cut, more than half way to the midrib but not to the midrib, into lobes that are spaced out along the midrib; the lobes do not form separate leaflets.

 

pinnule

The ultimate segment (individual leaflets) of a twice or more compound leaf or fern frond.

 

rachis

The main axis of a compound leaf, appearing as an extension of the leaf stalk; the main axis of an inflorescence.

 

rhizome

A horizontal, usually underground stem. It serves as a reproductive structure, producing roots below and shoots above at the nodes.

 

sorus

A compact cluster of spore-bearing cases or sacs (sporangia) on a fern.

 

sporangium

A spore bearing structure, as of a fern or moss.

 

stipe

A supporting stalk-like structure lacking vascular tissue: in fungi, the stalk supporting the mushroom cap; in ferns, the stalk connecting the blade to the rhizome; in flowering plants, the stalk connecting the flower’s ovary to the receptacle; in orchids; the band connecting the pollina with the viscidium.

       

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  northern lady fern   northern lady fern
       
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  Lady Fern - Athyrium filix femina - Plant TV
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About

Published on Apr 11, 2014

Lady Fern - Athyrium filix femina

You may have Lady fern in your own house. Many people use it to decorate their homes. You may see it hanging or potted. People in Victorian times were crazy about Lady fern. However, Lady fern is not only found in the house. It also grows in the wild, especially in deciduous forests and the taiga of North America and Eurasia.

Lady Fern is a deciduous, perennial fern about 24 to 36 inches tall. Its light green, lacy leaves are about 24 to 30" long and 6 to 9" wide and tapered at both ends. The fronds are cut twice and grow from a central base. The J-shaped spore casings, or sori, grow on the underside of the leaf.

 
     

 

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  Athyrium filix femina
wander van laar
 
   
 
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Published on Jun 14, 2014

No description available.

 
     
  Lady Fern
Joe Addair
 
   
 
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Uploaded on Sep 23, 2011

another great plant/herb for the ladies

 
     

 

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