Dryopteris campyloptera (Kunze) Clarkson

mountain wood fern

New England Distribution

Adapted from BONAP data

Where native and non-native distributions co-occur in a county, only the native distribution is shown.

North America Distribution

Adapted from BONAP data

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Facts About

Mountain wood fern inhabits cool forests in most of New England, though it is typically found at higher elevations in the southern states. Native Americans in Alaska and British Columbia used a tea of the leaves to treat stomachaches, and used the rhizomes for food.

Habitat

Alpine or subalpine zones, forests

Characteristics

Habitat
terrestrial
New England state
  • Connecticut
  • Maine
  • Massachusetts
  • New Hampshire
  • Vermont
Leaf divisions
  • the leaf blade is three times compound (divided into leaflets, which are further divided into leaflets, which are further divided into leaflets), or more
  • the leaf blade is twice compound (divided into leaflets, which are further divided into leaflets)
Plant growth form
the leaves grow from a rhizome growing at or below the ground
Spore-bearing leaflets
the spore-bearing fronds are similar in size and shape to the sterile fronds
Sorus shape
the sori are circular or kidney-shaped
Leaf stalk scales
the leaf stalk has scales
Leaf stalk hairs
there are no hairs on the leaf stalk
Leaf blade length
30–60 cm
Leaf vein tips
the veins end in small round expanded areas, and do not reach the edge of the leaf blade
Show All Characteristics
  • Growth form
    Life form
    the plant is herbaceous and terrestrial
    Life stage
    the plant is visible as a typical leaf-bearing fern (sporophyte)
    Spore-bearing leaflets
    the spore-bearing fronds are similar in size and shape to the sterile fronds
  • Leaves
    Features of leaves
    there are no special features on the leaves
    Leaf blade length
    30–60 cm
    Leaf blade shape
    • the leaf blades are roughly triangular
    • the leaf blades are widest above the base, then taper broadly towards the tip (ovate)
    Leaf blade width
    At least 20 cm
    Leaf divisions
    • the leaf blade is three times compound (divided into leaflets, which are further divided into leaflets, which are further divided into leaflets), or more
    • the leaf blade is twice compound (divided into leaflets, which are further divided into leaflets)
    Leaf lifespan
    the leaves drop off in winter
    Leaf stalk color
    yellow to brown
    Leaf stalk hairs
    there are no hairs on the leaf stalk
    Leaf stalk length
    78–450 mm
    Leaf stalk relative length
    the leaf stalk is more than a quarter, but less than three quarters as long as the blade
    Leaf stalk scale location
    • the scales are present on both the lower and upper halves of the leaf stalk
    • the scales are present only on the lower half of the leaf stalk
    Leaf stalk scales
    the leaf stalk has scales
    Leaf stalk vessels
    3 to 9 bundles
    Leaf vein branching
    the secondary veins of the leaf blade branch dichotomously (two equal branches at each branch point)
    Leaf vein tips
    the veins end in small round expanded areas, and do not reach the edge of the leaf blade
    Leaflet relative size
    the bottom leaflets are about half as long as, to slightly longer than, the leaflets from the middle of the frond
    Leaflet stalks
    the leaflets are stalked
    Lobe or leaflet length
    72–266 mm
    Lobe or leaflet pairs
    15–20
    Lobe or leaflet shape
    the lobe or leaflet is widest below the middle and tapering at both ends; lance-shaped
    Lobe or leaflet width
    21–103 mm
    Plant growth form
    the leaves grow from a rhizome growing at or below the ground
    final leaf segment margin
    the topmost lobe or leaflet of the leaf blade has an edge with teeth tipped with bristles
  • Place
    Habitat
    terrestrial
    New England state
    • Connecticut
    • Maine
    • Massachusetts
    • New Hampshire
    • Vermont
    Specific habitat
    • alpine or subalpine zones
    • forests
  • Spores or spore cones
    Sorus features
    the indusium of the sorus has glands on stalks (stipitate glands)
    Sorus shape
    the sori are circular or kidney-shaped
    Sporangia location
    the spores are clustered on sori on the lower surface of the leaf blade
    Sporangium type
    the sporangia are opaque without an annulus and usually without a stalk (leptosporangiate)
    Spore forms
    there is only one type of spore present

Wetland Status

Occurs only in non-wetlands. (Wetland indicator code: UPL)

New England Distribution and Conservation Status

Distribution

Connecticut
present
Maine
present
Massachusetts
present
New Hampshire
present
Rhode Island
absent
Vermont
present

Conservation Status

Exact status definitions can vary from state to state. For details, please check with your state.

Connecticut
extremely rare (S-rank: S1), endangered (code: E)
Massachusetts
uncommon (uncertain) (S-rank: S3?), #NAME? (code: #NAME?)

Native to North America?

Yes

Sometimes Confused With

Dryopteris carthusiana:
first lower leafule on lower leaflet as long as or longer than adjacent leafule and rachis and midrib of leaflets and leafules without stipitate glands (vs. D. campyolptera, with first lower leafule on lower leaflet shorter than the adjacent leafule and rachis and midrib of leaflets and leafules with stipitate glands). Dryopteris carthusiana: first pair of leafules on lowest leaflet nearly opposite one another, and wide-spread occurrence mostly at low elevation (vs. first pair of leafules on lowest leaflet obviously offset from one another and mainly occuring in the mountains and more northern areas).

Synonyms

  • Dryopteris austriaca (Jacq.) Woynar ex Schinz & Thellung
  • Dryopteris spinulosa (O.F. Muell.) Watt var. americana (Fischer ex Kunze) Fern.

Genus

Dryopteris

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Information from Dichotomous Key of Flora Novae Angliae

1.  Dryopteris campyloptera (Kunze) Clarkson N

mountain wood fern. Dryopteris austriaca (Jacq.) Woynar ex Schinz & Thellung; D. spinulosa (O.F. Muell.) Watt var. americana (Fischer ex Kunze) Fern. • CT, MA, ME, NH, VT; also reported from RI by Montgomery and Wagner (1993), but voucher specimens are unknown. Cool forests, including north-temperate, boreal, and subalpine communities; increasingly at higher elevation to the south.