Dryopteris filix-mas (L.) Schott

male wood fern

Copyright: various copyright holders. To reuse an image, please click it to see who you will need to contact.

New England Distribution

Adapted from BONAP data

Found this plant? Take a photo and post a sighting.

North America Distribution

Adapted from BONAP data

enlarge

Facts About

Male wood fern has an unusual distribution that includes the western mountains of North America, around the Great Lakes, and in Europe and Asia. In New England it is a very rare inhabitant of rich, rocky forests of Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont.

Habitat

Forests, talus and rocky slopes

Characteristics

Habitat
terrestrial
New England state
  • Maine
  • New Hampshire
  • Vermont
Show All Characteristics
  • Leaves
    Features of leaves
    there are no special features on the leaves
  • Place
    Habitat
    terrestrial
    New England state
    • Maine
    • New Hampshire
    • Vermont
    Specific habitat
    • forests
    • talus or rocky slopes

Wetland Status

Not classified

New England Distribution and Conservation Status

Distribution

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

Conservation Status

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

Maine
extremely rare (S-rank: S1), endangered (code: E)
Vermont
rare (S-rank: S2), threatened (code: T)

ssp. brittonii

New Hampshire
extremely rare (S-rank: S1), endangered (code: E)

ssp.brittonii

Maine
extremely rare (S-rank: S1), endangered (code: E)

Native to North America?

Yes and no (some introduced)

Sometimes Confused With

Dryopteris marginalis:
sori borne near margins of ultimate segments and scales not of two distinct sizes (vs. D. filix-mas, with sori born between the margins and veins of the ultimate segments and scales of two distinctly different sizes).

Genus

Dryopteris

Notes on Subspecies and Varieties in New England

Our subspecies is Dryopteris filix-mas (L.) Schott ssp. brittonii.

Need Help?

Get Help

Information from Dichotomous Key of Flora Novae Angliae

5.  Dryopteris filix-mas (L.) Schott ssp. brittonii Fras.-Jenk. & Widen NC

male wood fern. Polypodium filix-mas L. • ME, NH, VT. Rich, mesic, often rocky, forests.

3×5. Dryopteris clintoniana × Dryopteris filix-mas This very rare wood fern hybrid is known from VT. It generally resembles Dryopteris clintoniana but has scales of two sizes on the petiole and some microscales on the costules. It can be separated from D. filix-mas by the relative paucity of scales on the rachis and costules and the relatively broader leaflets (lanceolate to triangular-lanceolate vs. narrow-lanceolate or narrow-triangular-lanceolate in D. filix-mas).

5×9. Dryopteris filix-mas × Dryopteris marginalis Dryopteris ×‌montgomeryi Fras.-Jenk. & Widen is a very rare wood fern 
hybrid known from ME, VT. It shows sori positioned closer to the margin than the midrib of the ultimate segments and fairly dense scales at the base of the petiole (as with 
other D. marginalis hybrids). However, the general aspect of the plant is very similar 
to D. filix- mas, including the leaf blade tapering to the base and to the apex, numerous pairs of leaflets per blade, and abundant scales on the rachis and costae.