Woodwardia areolata (L.) T. Moore
Lorinseria areolata (L.) C. Presl
Netted chain fern, nettled chain fern
Netted chain fern is native to eastern North America. It forms dense colonies in areas that remain wet year round: acidic bogs, seeps, and wet woods, rarely on rock of siliceous cliffs and ledges on northern edge of range. It tolerates brackish water.
Identification: Stalks are purplish-brown. Sterile fronds are 24" (60 cm) × 6" (15 cm), oval in overall shape, with a sharp tip. Their pinnae are sharp-tipped, narrow, with wavy edges and fine teeth. They are winged where they join the rachis, except at the very bottom. Veins on the pinnae form a netlike pattern. Fertile fronds are narrower, more spread out. Fertile pinnae are curled as if protecting the sori, so much so that they appear very narrow. The sori are reddish brown, deeply embedded in the leaflets, and longer than they are wide. They appear in two parallel rows.
Netted chain fern looks a little like sensitive fern, but the fertile fronds are very different, and leaf margins of netted chain fern are toothed, while those of sensitive fern are not.
Woodwardia areolata on the Connecticut Botanical Society's Connecticut wildflowers site
Woodwardia areolata on the New England Wildflower Society’s GoBotany site
Woodwardia areolata on Wikipedia
Woodwardia areolata at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center
Cobb, Boughton, Farnsworth, Elizabeth & Lowe, Cheryl, Peterson Field Guides: A Field Guide to Ferns and Their Related Families of Northwestern and Central North America, Houghton Mifflin Company, 2005, p. 236
Woodwardia areolata description by Thomas H. Kent, last updated 25 May 2020.