Pioneer Valley Fern Society

Winter Ferns

#5 Marginal Wood Fern

Marginal Wood Fern (Dryopteris marginalis) is closely related to Evergreen Wood Fern, but is only twice-cut, not thrice-cut and therefore not as lacy in appearance. It will often look "leathery" and may appear a bluer-green then Evergreen. Both are green through the winter but grow new fronds from fiddleheads in the spring. Marginal Wood Ferns are usually found growing on rock, or stone walls. Another easy way to tell the two apart is to look at the sori (or fruit dots), which can usually still be found on some fronds through the winter. The Marginal Wood Fern sori are found along the outer margin of the pinnules. Evergreen Wood Fern sori are all located between the midrib and the margins of the pinnules. Both grow in symmetric clumps and have scaley stipes, and are common on our landscape and throughout the Northeast.