|A very graceful, lacy, sometimes evergreen fern with several recognized varieties. The above ground rootstock gives rise to a circular cluster of 1-2’ leaves. The stalks are densely scaly and the stalk and axis are grooved in front. The leaves are lance-shaped and the sub-leaflets are variously cut and bear fruit dots away from the margin. Found widely in moist woods, along wooded stream banks and in ravines.
Marginal woodfern (Dryopteris marginalis) is similar but the leaves are thicker and more leathery and are always evergreen. The subleaflets may be toothed but are not deeply cut. The fruit dots are at the sub-leaflet margins.