Bogs and Acidic Peatlands of Southern New England by Marsha C. Salett
Thelypteris palustris var. pubescens Schott.
EtymologyThelypteris means "female fern," from the Greek: thelus = female, pteris = fern; palustris is Latin for marsh- or swamp-loving (Latin).
Synonyms (Common Name)Meadow Fern
DescriptionOne of the most abundant ferns in New England, marsh fern thrives in moist, open sites where soil acidity is low. A medium (to 2' tall) twice-cut -- or bipinnate -- fern, marsh fern is slender with light green to yellow-green fronds.
Wetland indicator statusFACW+
Plant Height1-3 feet
LeavesSterile and fertile fronds are similar. Both are twice-cut, 16-20" long, with 12-40 pairs of nearly opposite, unstalked leaflets (pinnae) -- lowest pair(s) horizontal -- divided into 12-25 pairs of subleaflets (pinnules); however, fertile fronds are longer-stalked and narrower. Sterile frond: lance-shaped, semi-tapering to base, stalk to 13" tall, with lanceolate, nearly opposite pinnae, to 3/4" wide; pinnules oval, undersides have forked veins. Fertile frond: narrowly lanceolate to oblong, stalk to 27" tall; pinnae narrow, not all veins are forked; pinnules with margins incurved over fruitdots (sori).
Fruiting PeriodJune-October.
HabitatWooded swamps, wet woods, wet meadows, marshes, pond and bog margins.
RangeNewfoundland to Ontario and Manitoba, south to Florida and Texas.
(c) 1998-2006 Marsha C. Salett