Dryopteris marginalis

While planning a group trip to the Carolinas and area for this spring, I’ve been revisiting some of my photographs from last year. This is a tentative identification for the subject fern in this image. If someone wants to assert that it is instead a species of Athyrium from the area (see A Natural History of Pearson’s Falls and Some of Its Human Associations for a species list), I could be swayed. Unfortunately, the foreground stream along with considerations for the rental car (wet shoes) and the property (Pearson’s Falls) precluded a closer look.

Dryopteris marginalis is endemic to eastern North America, extending southwest from the southern tip of Greenland to Kansas and Oklahoma. According to the Flora of North America for Dryopteris marginalis, it is a species of “Rocky, wooded slopes and ravines, edges of woods, stream banks and roadbanks, and rock walls”. It appears to me that this plant is periodically submerged by the stream during periods of high waterflow.

The etymology of the specific epithet is explained by HardyFernLibrary.com (Dryopteris marginalis): “Marginalis means margined, referring to the position of the sori”. A photograph illustrating the location of these spore-producing receptacles on the frond is also available on that site, or on the Ferns and Fern Allies of Wisconsin: Dryopteris marginalis.

Dryopteris marginalis

6 responses to “Dryopteris marginalis”

  1. Adolf Ceska

    There is a mysterious collection of this species from Meager Creek Hotsprings by Al Rose:
    Dryopteris marginalis (L.) A. Gray
    Canada, British Columbia: Meager Creek Hot Springs, north of Pemberton, Lillooet District. Elev. 650 m
    50° 30′ N, 123° 30′ W
    In moist woods. Originally labelled as D. arguta. Annotated to D. marginalis by Adolf Ceska, 1990. Rare, only 3 plants. Not a hybrid. Spores non-abortive, well shed.
    UBC-V193572
    A. A. Rose s.n.Jul 21, 1987
    Also listed from Atlin, BC in Eastham, J. W. 1947. Supplement to the flora of southern British Columbia. British Columbia Provincial Museum Special Publication No. 1. Victoria. 119 p. The specimen is listed as being in the RBCM, but there is nothing there.
    This is one of several BC pteridological mysteries.

  2. elizabeth a airhart

    it will be nice to have you and your group in the states
    the carolinas are pretty in the spring time hope you get
    to see some of the peach farms grand sight
    daniel the new usda plant hardiness zone map is online
    some real changes my part of florida is in a warmer zone
    thank you

  3. Eben Hodgin

    That is strange indeed! Another group of three individuals on Meager Creek could not be found again after they were documented in 1984 (BC Conservation Data Centre).
    What are some of the other pteridological mysteries of BC?

  4. Gabrielle

    Thanks for the beautiful photo and the great links. I was captivated by the little book “A Natural History of Pearson’s Falls”. So lovingly researched and told.

  5. Jared Barnes

    The Carolinas are great! We would love to have you swing by NC State/JC Raulston Arboretum if you’re going to be in the Raleigh area. Let me know if you need any help with connections.

  6. allison cusick

    Yes, I think your 2nd guess is correct–this is Athyrium filix-femina, not Dryopteris marginalis. The leathery woodfern is evergreen, not deciduous, with a firm texture and distinctive blue-green coloration. I have not seen it in a site where it would regularly be inundated. The fern in the photo has the light green color and apparent thin texture typical of lady-ferns. I am using Athyrium filix-femina in a broad sense.

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