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Common Fern and Fern-Ally Species of the Northwest Forest

TREES

SHRUBS

HERBS

GRAMINOIDS

BROPHYTES & LICHENS

GLOSSARIES
Terminology | Pictorial

   
Onoclea sensibilis
Sensitive Fern
Polypodiaceae (Polypody Family)

Sensitive Fern Description

General - medium to large-sized fern; large, deeply pinnatifid fronds and spherical spore-bearing bodies borne on a separate stalk.

Leaves - large, deeply pinnatifid, the stalk winged, each segment of the leaf lanceolate to oblong, with or without teeth or with a few undulations, up to 1.3 m long.

Spore Clusters - borne in globose bodies at the tip of a stalk separate from the leaves.

Habitat

Wet woods, along streams, riverbanks, swamps and bogs throughout Northwestern Ontario's boreal region; uncommon in forested environments.

Notes

The fronds die quickly with the first autumn frosts, which is why the plant has gained its common name of the sensitive fern. This species is reported to be poisonous to livestock and rarely, if ever, is troubled by browsing deer.


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