Ontario Ferns website

Fern Silhouettes

Fern silhouettes are a handy and common way to learn the overall shape and form of various species of ferns, and to learn to tell them apart.

Please note that these silhouettes are NOT to scale, relative to each other. Click on the silhouette to go to the page for that species.

These fern silhouettes were created by Nels Maher. They are reproduced from A Guide to the Ferns of Grey and Bruce Counties, Ontario (see the Booklist), and from Nels' Fern Hike Checklist, a guide he gave out on the fern walks he conducted.
Nels Maher passed away in 2005, so I was not able to ask his permission to use these silhouettes on this site. I hope he won't mind, in the interest of educating people everywhere about ferns!

Christmas Fern (Polystichum acrostichoides) silhouette
Christmas Fern
(Polystichum acrostichoides)
Bulblet Fern (Cystopteris bulbifera) silhouette
Bulblet Fern
(Cystopteris bulbifera)
Cinnamon Fern (Osmundastrum cinnamomeum) silhouette
Cinnamon Fern
(Osmundastrum cinnamomeum)
Purple-stemmed Cliffbrake (Pellaea atropurpurea) silhouette
Purple-stemmed Cliffbrake
(Pellaea atropurpurea)
Slender Cliffbrake (Cryptogramma stelleri) silhouette
Slender Cliffbrake
(Cryptogramma stelleri)
Smooth Cliffbrake (Pellaea glabella) silhouette
Smooth Cliffbrake
(Pellaea glabella)
Crested Shield Fern (Dryopteris cristata) silhouette
Crested Shield Fern
(Dryopteris cristata)
Fragile Fern (Cystopteris fragilis) silhouette
Fragile Fern
(Cystopteris fragilis)
Goldie's Fern (Dryopteris goldiana) silhouette
Goldie's Fern
(Dryopteris goldiana)
Hart's Tongue Fern (Asplenium scolopendrium) silhouette
Hart's Tongue Fern
(Asplenium scolopendrium)
Northern Holly Fern (Polystichum lonchitis) silhouette
Northern Holly Fern
(Polystichum lonchitis)
Interrupted Fern (Osmunda claytoniana) silhouette
Interrupted Fern
(Osmunda claytoniana)
Lady Fern (Athyrium filix-femina) silhouette
Lady Fern
(Athyrium filix-femina)
Long Beech Fern (Phegopteris connectilis) silhouette
Long Beech Fern
(Phegopteris connectilis)
Maidenhair Fern (Adiantum pedatum) silhouette
Maidenhair Fern
(Adiantum pedatum)
Male Fern (Dryopteris filix-mas) silhouette
Male Fern
(Dryopteris filix-mas)
Marginal Shield Fern (Dryopteris marginalis) silhouette
Marginal Shield Fern
(Dryopteris marginalis)
Marsh Fern (Thelypteris palustris) silhouette
Marsh Fern
(Thelypteris palustris)
Narrow-leaved Glade Fern (Homalosorus pycnocarpos) silhouette
Narrow-leaved Glade Fern
(Homalosorus pycnocarpos)
Northern Adder's Tongue (Ophioglossum pusillum) silhouette
Northern Adder's Tongue
(Ophioglossum pusillum)
Oak Fern (Gymnocarpium dryopteris) silhouette
Oak Fern
(Gymnocarpium dryopteris)
Ostrich Fern (Matteuccia struthiopteris) silhouette
Ostrich Fern
(Matteuccia struthiopteris)
Polypody (Polypodium virginianum) silhouette
(Polypodium virginianum)
Rattlesnake Fern (Botrypus virginianus) silhouette
Rattlesnake Fern
(Botrypus virginianus)
Robert's Fern (Gymnocarpium robertianum) silhouette
Robert's Fern
(Gymnocarpium robertianum)
Royal Fern (Osmunda regalis) silhouette
Royal Fern
(Osmunda regalis)
Sensitive Fern (Onoclea sensibilis) silhouette
Sensitive Fern
(Onoclea sensibilis)
Silvery Glade Fern (Deparia acrostichoides) silhouette
Silvery Glade Fern
(Deparia acrostichoides)
Ebony Spleenwort (Asplenium platyneuron) silhouette
Ebony Spleenwort
(Asplenium platyneuron)
Green Spleenwort (Asplenium viride) silhouette
Green Spleenwort
(Asplenium viride)
Maidenhair Spleenwort (Asplenium trichomanes) silhouette
Maidenhair Spleenwort
(Asplenium trichomanes)
Virginia Chain Fern (Woodwardia virginica) silhouette
Virginia Chain Fern
(Woodwardia virginica)
Walking Fern (Asplenium rhizophyllum) silhouette
Walking Fern
(Asplenium rhizophyllum)
Intermediate Wood Fern (Dryopteris intermedia) silhouette
Intermediate Wood Fern
(Dryopteris intermedia)
Spinulose Wood Fern (Dryopteris carthusiana) silhouette
Spinulose Wood Fern
(Dryopteris carthusiana)
Bracken (Pteridium aquilinum) silhouette
(Pteridium aquilinum)