Connecticut Plants
Lowland Brittle Fern (Southern Bladder Fern)
Cystopteris protrusa (Weatherby) Blasdell

This fern looks very similar to fragile fern and slender fragile fern, but it grows in soil on the forest floor, while the other ferns usually grow on rocky surfaces.

  • Synonyms: Cystopteris fragilis (L.) Bernh. var. protrusa Weath.
  • Family: cliff fern (Woodsiaceae)
  • Habitat: moist woods
  • Height: fronds 6-16 inches long
  • Location of spores: undersides of leaflets
  • Petiole (leaf stalk): Slender, smooth with a few scales near base. Yellowish-tan to green.
  • Growth pattern: asymmetric clump
  • Persistence: deciduous
  • Origin: native
Cystopteris protrusa (Weatherby) Blasdell
Cystopteris protrusa (Weatherby) Blasdell

Underside of a frond, showing the tan sori (spore-bearing structures).