Ontario Ferns website

Bulblet Fern
Cystopteris bulbifera

Bulblet Fern (Cystopteris bulbifera) Other common names: Bulblet Bladder Fern, Bulblet Cystopteris

Other scientific names: Felix bulbifera, Polypodium bulbiferum

French names: Cystoptère bulbifère

Family: Wood Fern Family (Dryopteridaceae)

Distinctive features: Bulblets along the underside of the fronds. No other species has these.

Similar species:
  •   Fragile Fern (Cystopteris fragilis) - no bulblets.

Fronds: Thrice divided

Height: Up to 45 cm (17 in)

Habitat: Forests;  Moist woods.

Native/Non-native: Native

Status: Common.

Notes: This is a very easy fern to identify if the bulblets are present on the underside of the fronds. It's the only fern to have these.

Origin and Meaning of Names:
 Scientific Name: bulbifera: bearing bulbs

Photographs: 81 photographs available, of which 12 are featured on this page. SCROLL DOWN FOR PHOTOGRAPHS.

Range Map is at the bottom of the page

Bulblet Fern (Cystopteris bulbifera)

Bulblets on the underside of a Bulblet Fern frond. For a closeup of these see the next photo.

Bulblet Fern (Cystopteris bulbifera)

A closeup view of some bulblets on the underside of a frond.
New ferns will grow from these when they drop off the plant and lay on the ground.

Bulblet Fern (Cystopteris bulbifera)

Another one.

Bulblet Fern (Cystopteris bulbifera)

There are also these dots on the underside of the fronds.

Bulblet Fern (Cystopteris bulbifera)

View of the top of a leaflet.

Bulblet Fern (Cystopteris bulbifera)

Underside of a leaflet.

Bulblet Fern (Cystopteris bulbifera)

Bulblet Ferns in the woods.
Note the leaflets are fairly close together, usually.

Bulblet Fern (Cystopteris bulbifera)

Sometimes they have a more spread-out growth aspect, as shown here.

Bulblet Fern (Cystopteris bulbifera)

Bulblet Fern (Cystopteris bulbifera)

A "grove" of Bulblet Ferns.

Bulblet Fern (Cystopteris bulbifera)

Bulblet Fern (Cystopteris bulbifera)

Nice pic of Bulblet Ferns growing against a tree trunk.

Range map for Bulblet Fern (Cystopteris bulbifera)

PLEASE NOTE: A coloured Province or State means this species occurs somewhere in that Province/State.
The entire Province/State is coloured, regardless of where in that Province/State it occurs.

(Range map provided courtesy of the USDA website and is displayed here in accordance with their Policies)