Saturday, April 1, 2023

Netted chain ferns

Netted chain fern: sterile fronds.

The netted chain fern (Woodwardia areolata) is native to eastern North America including most of Florida. It spreads via rhizomes and acts as a ground cover in partially shaded areas with some moisture. 

Leaves or fronds are dimorphic with the sterile leaves being flat and relatively broad for a fern, while the fertile fronds (those bearing the spores in structures called sori. (Sorus is the singular.)) are taller and have very little green leafy area. For this fern, sori are oblong and are arranged in neat lines, this is the characteristic that gives the chain ferns their name. In North Florida and in more northerly areas in its range, the green sterile fronds die back in the winter, while the fertile fronds persist through the winter.