Indicator Plants

Athyrium filix-femina – lady fern

Common Name

lady fern



Scientific Name

Athyrium filix-femina

Soil Moisture Regime (SMR)
  • Wet (W)
Soil Nutrient Regime (SNR)
  • Rich (R)

Botanical Drawing

Hitchcock, C. Leo, and Arthur Cronquist. Flora of the Pacific Northwest: An Illustrated Manual © 1973. Reprinted with permission of the University of Washington Press.

General / Habitat
  • delicate, deciduous fern growing in moist forests, swamps and clearings at all elevations.
  • Termed “lady fern” due to its fragility and elegant appearance
Key Identifying Characteristics
  • Form: fronds clustered, erect and spreading
  • Leaves: stipes (stalk below blade) short and scaly at the base, leaf blades diamond-shaped (lancelike but tapered at both ends), 2-3 times pinnately divided
  • Sori: elongate and curved, indusium shrivels soon after forming
  • D. expansa (spiny wood fern)
    • lady fern is triangular while spiny wood fern is broadly triangular and typically more bare towards leaf base

Douglas, G.W. et al (Editors). 1998-2002. Illustrated Flora of British Columbia, Volumes 1 to 8. B.C. Min. Environ., Lands and Parks, and B.C. Min. For., Victoria, B.C.

Pojar, J. and A. MacKinnon. 2014. Plants of Coastal British Columbia Including Washington, Oregon & Alaska. B.C. Ministry of Forestry and Lone Pine Publishing. Vancouver, B.C.


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