Search Field Guide
Advanced Search
MT Gov Logo
Montana Field Guide

Montana Field Guides

Male Fern - Dryopteris filix-mas

Native Species

Global Rank: G5
State Rank: S3S4

Agency Status
USFWS:
USFS:
BLM:
MNPS Threat Rank:
C-value: 6

External Links






 
General Description
Male fern Leaves monomorphic, 15–100 cm long, petiole up to 1/3 length of blade. Leaf blade narrowly elliptic, green, twice pinnate at the base, not glandular. Pinnules downward- and upward-pointing ones ca. equal. Indusium lacking glands (Lesica 2012. Manual of Montana Vascular Plants. BRIT Press. Fort Worth, TX).

Diagnostic Characteristics
The broadly horseshoe-shaped indusium identifies its members as Dryopteris.

The length ratio of downward- to opposing upward-pointing pinnules on the lowest pinnae separates Spinulose, Spreading, and Male ferns (Giblin et al.[eds] 2018; Lesica et al. 2012):

Male Fern - Dryopteris filix-mas, native:
* Leaves are 1- to 2- pinnate at the base and deciduous.
* Petiole is about one-third or less the length of the blade.
* Leaves are narrowly elliptic or lance-shaped in outline.
* Downward- and upward- pointing pinnules are about equal in length and width.

Spreading Woodfern - Dryopteris expansa, native:
* Leaves 2- or 3-pinnate at base and can be more evergreen.
* Petiole is often about half as long as the blade.
* Leaves are broadly ovate to triangular in outline.
* Leaf blade is about one-half to two-thirds as wide as long (except in very robust plants).
* The first downward-pointing pinnule on the lowest pinnae is at least twice as long and wide as the opposing upward-pointing pinnule.
* Teeth on pinna margins toothed with a spine tip less than 0.03 mm.

Crested Shieldfern - Dryopteris cristata, native, SOC:
* Leaves are 1-pinnate and of two types: erect fertile fronds are taller than the sterile arching, evergreen fronds.
* Petiole is less than half as long as the blade.
* Leaves are narrowly lance-shaped in outline.
* Pinnae are deeply pinnately lobed.

Spinulose Shieldfern - Dryopteris carthusiana, native:
* Leaves 2- or 3-pinnate at base and deciduous.
* Petiole is often shorter than the blade.
* Leaves are broadly ovate to triangular in outline.
* Leaf bladed about one-half to two-thirds as wide as long (except in very robust plants).
* The first downward-pointing pinnule on the lowest pinnae is less than twice as long and wide as the opposing upward-pointing pinnule.
* Teeth on pinna margins with a prominent spine tip about 0.05 mm long.
* Leaves deciduous.

Species Range
Present
 


Range Comments
In MT in western counties east to Carbon County; circumboreal to AZ, NM, WI, ON, and NS (Lesica 2012. Manual of Montana Vascular Plants. BRIT Press. Fort Worth, TX).

Observations in Montana Natural Heritage Program Database
Number of Observations: 67

(Click on the following maps and charts to see full sized version) Map Help and Descriptions
Relative Density

Recency

 

(Observations spanning multiple months or years are excluded from time charts)



Habitat
Mesic forests and in moist to wet rock crevices, often along streams and beneath tall shrubs; montane to subalpine (Lesica 2012. Manual of Montana Vascular Plants. BRIT Press. Fort Worth, TX).

References
  • Literature Cited AboveLegend:   View Online Publication
    • Lesica, P., M.T. Lavin, and P.F. Stickney. 2012. Manual of Montana Vascular Plants. Fort Worth, TX: BRIT Press. viii + 771 p.
  • Additional ReferencesLegend:   View Online Publication
    Do you know of a citation we're missing?
    • Flora of North America Editorial Committee. 1993. Flora of North America north of Mexico. Vol. 2. Pteridophytes and gymnosperms. Oxford Univ. Press, New York. xvi + 475 pp.
  • Web Search Engines for Articles on "Male Fern"
Login Logout
Citation for data on this website:
Male Fern — Dryopteris filix-mas.  Montana Field Guide.  .  Retrieved on , from