Bogs and Acidic Peatlands of Southern New England by Marsha C. Salett
Thelypteris simulata (Davenp.) Nieuwl.
EtymologyThelypteris means "female fern", from the Greek: thelus = female, pteris = fern; simulata is Latin for similar -- this fern is similar to marsh fern.
Synonyms (Common Name)Bog Fern
DescriptionGrowing approximately 2' tall, Massachusetts fern is a medium, slender, twice-cut -- or bipinnate -- yellow-green fern. Massachusetts fern wasn't described as a distinct species until 1894 due of its close resemblance to its more common relatives, marsh fern (T. palustris var. pubescens) and New York fern (T. noveboracensis) It often occurs with the other two species, but prefers more shaded habitats than marsh fern and wetter habitats than New York fern.
Wetland indicator statusFACW
Plant Height1-2.5 feet
LeavesSterile and fertile fronds are similar. Both are twice-cut, to 24" tall and 6" wide, narrowly lanceolate, with 18 pairs of nearly opposite, unstalked leaflets (pinnae) -- lowest pair usually point downward -- divided into 15+ pairs of subleaflets (pinnules); however, fertile fronds are longer-stalked and more erect. Sterile frond: stalk to 8", leaflets oblong, lower ones are tapered to base, veins are unforked. Fertile frond: stalk to 14", scattered fruit dots (sori) on undersides of pinnules.
Fruiting PeriodJuly-September.
HabitatForested swamps, moist woods, acid soils.
RangeNova Scotia to Virginia and West Virginia.
(c) 1998-2006 Marsha C. Salett