Ontario Ferns website

Virginia Chain Fern
(Woodwardia virginica)

Virginia Chain Fern (Woodwardia virginica) Other scientific names: Anchistea virginicum, Blechnum virginicum

French names: Woodwardie de Virginie

Family: Chain Fern Family (Blechnaceae)

Distinctive features: Sori on underside of leaflets are arranged in "chains". Deep swamps.

Similar species:
  •   Cinnamon Fern (Osmundastrum cinnamomeum) - grows similar habitat; all fronds arise from a central point (knob).

  •   Ostrich Fern (Matteuccia struthiopteris) - grows similar habitat, but not quite as wet.

  •   Marsh Fern (Thelypteris palustris) - similar habitat, small plant overall; stems are crooked.


Fronds: Twice divided

Height: 1 m (2-4 ft)

Sori: In chainlike formations.

Habitat: Deep swamps - wet areas.

Native/Non-native: Native

Status: Uncommon.

Origin and Meaning of Names:
 Scientific Name: : of Virginia; Virginian


Photographs: 135 photographs available, of which 11 are featured on this page. SCROLL DOWN FOR PHOTOGRAPHS.

Range Map is at the bottom of the page

Virginia Chain Fern (Woodwardia virginica)

The whole plant. Virginia Chain Fern grows deep in swamps. The photos on this page are of specimens deep in a shrubby swamp.

Virginia Chain Fern (Woodwardia virginica)

Virginia Chain Fern (Woodwardia virginica)

Underside of the leaflets showing the "chains" for which it is named.

Virginia Chain Fern (Woodwardia virginica)

A better view of the chains in this herbarium specimen.

(Royal Botanical Gardens Herbarium, Burlington, Ontario).

Virginia Chain Fern (Woodwardia virginica)

Root.

(Royal Botanical Gardens Herbarium, Burlington, Ontario).

Virginia Chain Fern (Woodwardia virginica)

Last year's stalks.

Virginia Chain Fern (Woodwardia virginica)

Closeup view of part of a stalk from last year.

Virginia Chain Fern (Woodwardia virginica)

Fiddlehead in the spring. This was in late May.

Virginia Chain Fern (Woodwardia virginica)

Virginia Chain Fern (Woodwardia virginica)

Upper side of a leaflet.

Virginia Chain Fern (Woodwardia virginica)

Underside of the same leaflet.


Range map for Virginia Chain Fern (Woodwardia virginica)

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)