Netted Chain Fern - Netleaf Chain Fern - Netvein Chain Fern
Woodwardia areolata - (Linnaeus) T. Moore
Var: Lorinseria areolata
Blechnaceae (Netted Chain) Family

Netted chain fern is a deciduous fern of eastern North America which typically occurs in woodland swamps and bogs. Although native to this area, it is considered rare in most of North America. Its preferred habitat is shaded swamps, wet woods, and can grow in slightly brackish water.

The leaves are glossy green fronds that emerge pinkish in the spring and unroll to 1 to 2 feet long. The fronds typically have 8 to 10 pairs of lance-shaped leaflets (pinnae) that will have small marginal teeth, arising in the summer. Fertile fronds are the same length as the sterile fronds, but have narrower leaf divisions. The pinnae of both fronds have netted veins and the sori (spores) on the fertile fronds are arranged in chain-like rows parallel to the midribs, hence the common name.

This fern is similar in appearance to the much more common sensitive fern (Onoclea sensibilis), except the latter generally grows taller and has beaded, woody-like fertile fronds with smooth-edged leaflets on the sterile fronds.

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