Athyrium angustum (Willd.) C. Presl. - Northern Lady Fern


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Athyrium angustum - (image 1 of 5)



Family: Woodsiaceae


Moist or mesic woods, meadows, and streambanks.




Quebec to Ontario and SD, south to NC, WV, OH, IN, IL, MO, and IA, eastern TX, southern IN, MO, OK, and eastern NE.


Deciduous from a short-creeping to erect rhizome. Leaves light green, to 1 m; blade 10-35 cm wide, acuminate, broadest near the middle and narrowed toward the base, sparsely scaly, bipinnate to bipinnate-pinnatifid; pinnae 20-30 pairs, lance-linear, subsessile; petiole scales brown to black-brown; veins forking, directed into the teeth; indusia dark brown, thin, ciliate when young, horseshoe-shaped; spores yellow.


Spores produced June to Fall

Wetland Indicator: FAC

The horseshoe-shaped indusia are one of the best diagnostic features. Synonymous with Athyrium felix-femina var. michauxii (Spreng.) Farw. Athryium asplenioides (Michx.) Desv. (syn. A. felix-femina var. asplenioides) is similar but has light brown to brown petiole scales, dark brown spores, and leaf blades broadest just above the base. Athyrium felix-femina sensu stricto does not occur in North America.


Gleason, Henry A. and A. Cronquist. 1991. Manual of Vascular Plants of Northeastern United States and Adjacent Canada. Second Ed.

The New York Botanical Garden. Bronx, NY


Haines, A. 2011. Flora Novae Angliae: a manual for the identification of native and naturalized higher vascular plants of New England. Yale University Press, New Haven, CT.


Swink, F. and G. Wilhelm. 1994. Plants of the Chicago Region.
Indiana Academy of Science. The Morton Arboretum. Lisle, Illinois.




Michael Hough 2018