Pioneer Valley Fern Society

Favorite Ferns

Mountain Wood Fern

Mountain Wood Fern

Have you seen this Wood Fern? It is Mountain Wood Fern (Dryopteris campyloptera). It grows in cool moist woods in the North, or at higher elevations southward. While we have found a few in Shutesbury, one place where they are the most common fern is Mt. Greylock. They look a bit like Evergreen Wood Ferns (they are believed to be a cross between Evergreen (intermedia) and Northern Wood Fern (expansa), but the leaf blades are broader and lacier, with quite a gap between the pinnae along the rachis. An important specific characteristic is that the lowest, innermost pinnule is clearly larger than the rest, and is offset from the rachis a bit, leaving a gap between the rachis and this larger pinnule. Difficult to describe easily, but if you look at the lowest pinnae and the innermost lower pinnule which are highlighted by sunshine in this photo, you will see the difference. If you visit the Adirondacks or Appalachian mountains, be on the lookout for this attractive robust wood fern.

Let us know if you find them in our area! We would love to see them.

Janice & Randy Stone