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Virginia Chain Fern
Woodwardia virginica (Anchistea virginica)

Virginia chain fern looks roughly similar to cinnamon fern, which is more common in Connecticut. To identify Virginia chain fern, look for the distinctive sori (see second photo below). If sori aren't present, look for dark shiny stipes (leaf stalks).

• Family: Blechnaceae
• Habitat: sphagnum bogs, swamps
• Height: 2-4 feet
• Location of spores: underside of fronds
• Stipe (leaf stalk): blackish, shiny; two fine grooves
• Growth pattern: random
• Persistence: deciduous

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Woodwardia virginica


Underside of a frond, showing the tan sori (spore-bearing structures), which form a double row outlining the major veins.


The undersides of the sterile fronds (those without sori) have an interesting (and rather attractive) pattern of veins. This is shown below in close-up.



Last updated November 25, 2005. © 2005 Connecticut Botanical Society. All rights reserved.