Fern, hay scented

Dennstaedia punctilobula
A 15 – 30”, light green, non-evergreen fern that commonly occurs in large patches in partly shaded or open areas. The dark brown or black leaf-stalks are smooth, or occasionally with a few hairs or scales. The leaves are lance-shaped and widest near the base. They are thrice-cut and often somewhat arching, and the crushed leaflets have a sweet odor. The small, round fruit dots are at the bases of cuts in the subleaflets.

Some other thrice-cut ferns are similar, but Lady fern (Athyreum Filix-femina) has green stems, while the stems of Woodferns (Dryopteris) are very scaly.