Ontario Ferns website

Crested Shield Fern
(Dryopteris cristata)

Crested Shield Fern (Dryopteris cristata) Other common names: Crested Wood Fern

Other scientific names: Aspidium cristatum, Polypodium cristata, Thelypteris cristata

French names: Dryoptère à crêtes

Family: Wood Fern Family (Dryopteridaceae)

Distinctive features: Leathery leaves, all parallel to the ground like louvered blinds.

Similar species:
  •   Spinulose Wood Fern (Dryopteris carthusiana) - usually thrice divided, and don't grow in such a wet habitat.

  •   Intermediate Wood Fern (Dryopteris intermedia) - usually thrice divided, and don't grow in such a wet habitat.


Fronds: Twice divided;  Leathery leaves, all parallel to the ground like louvered blinds. But don't rely on just the louvering to ID this fern. Other ferns will sometimes do this.

Height: Up to 1 m (1-2 ft)

Habitat: Wet Areas;  very wet areas.

Native/Non-native: Native

Status: Common.

Photographs: 11 photographs on this page. SCROLL DOWN FOR PHOTOGRAPHS.

Range Map is at the bottom of the page

Crested Shield Fern (Dryopteris cristata)

Crested Shield Fern (Dryopteris cristata)

Crested Shield Fern (Dryopteris cristata)

Crested Shield Fern (Dryopteris cristata)

This and the next three photos show the louvered aspect of the leaflets.

Crested Shield Fern (Dryopteris cristata)

**BUT** do not use this feature alone to identify this fern. Other ferns sometimes grow like this. I've been fooled.

The key features of Crested Shield Fern are:
  • leathery leaflets;
  • grows in wet areas;
  • twice divided; louvered leaflets.
.

Crested Shield Fern (Dryopteris cristata)

Crested Shield Fern (Dryopteris cristata)

A young frond unfurling.

Crested Shield Fern (Dryopteris cristata)

Spore dots (sori) on the underside of a leaflet. They're round and are lined up in two rows.

Crested Shield Fern (Dryopteris cristata)

This photos shows the two rows of sori quite clearly.

Crested Shield Fern (Dryopteris cristata)

Closeup view of the sori.

Crested Shield Fern (Dryopteris cristata)

In the fall.


Range map for Crested Shield Fern (Dryopteris cristata)

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)