Wood Fern Family

Western Sword Fern © AFengler

Dryopteridaceae (dry-OP-ter-id-AY-see-ee)

Iconic Features

    • Fronds usually 2 to 4 levels of division (pinnation)
    • Frond stalks with scales
    • Sori along frond veins
    • Indusia present

    Description (Jepson)

      • Polypodiopsida (ferns)
        • A group of early vascular plants that produce spores (no flowers or seeds)
      • Perennial ferns from rhizomes (horizontal underground stems)
      • Fronds are divided into leaflets (compound) with 1 to 4 levels of division (pinnation)
      • Frond stalks have scales
      • Sori (sacs containing reproductive cells/spores) located on the underside of the frond, along the frond veins; each round sorus covered by an indusium (a membrane covering sori until mature)


        • More than 1,600 species worldwide
        • Scientific name from the included genus Dryopteris, from the Greek drys, “oak,” and pteris, “fern,” referring to the plants’ habitat
        • Represented by 2 species at Edgewood

        See General References

        Specific References

          American Fern Society. About Ferns.

            U.S. Forest Service, United States Department of Agriculture. What Are Ferns?.

            Browse Some Edgewood Plants in this Family