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Connecticut Plants
Rusty Woodsia (Rusty Cliff Fern)
Woodsia ilvensis (L.) R. Br.
  • Family: cliff fern (Woodsiaceae)
  • Habitat: sunny crevices in rocks, usually in acidic soil
  • Height: 4-8 inches
  • Location of spores: underside of fronds near the leaf edges
  • Petiole (leaf stalk): brownish with both hairs and scales; brittle
  • Growth pattern: asymmetric clump
  • Persistence: deciduous
  • Origin: native
Woodsia ilvensis (L.) R. Br.
Woodsia ilvensis (L.) R. Br.
Woodsia ilvensis (L.) R. Br.

In dry weather, rusty woodsia fronds dry out and curl up, but they can turn green again after a rain.

Woodsia ilvensis (L.) R. Br.

Underside of a frond. Note the hairy leaf blade and stem. The hairs are white on young fronds, but they turn rusty during the summer or in dry weather. (This photograph was taken in late July of a dry summer.) The spores are near the leaf edge, partly hidden by hairs.

Woodsia ilvensis (L.) R. Br.