Netted chain fern is easy to overlook, since it looks similar to sensitive fern, which is much more common. To distinguish them, look for fertile fronds -- these are dissimilar. If fertile fronds are absent, note that netted chain fern's sterile fronds more pointy and less deeply lobed than those of sensitive fern.
- Family: deer fern (Blechnaceae)
- Habitat: shaded swamps, wet woods; can grow in slightly brackish water
- Height: 18-24 inches
- Location of spores: Underside of separate fertile fronds.
- Petiole (leaf stalk): dull green and slightly scaly on the underside; lower part is red-brown
- Growth pattern: random
- Persistence: deciduous
- Origin: native
Sterile fronds of the netted chain fern.
A fertile frond.
An isolated fertile frond.
Underside of a portion of the same fertile frond. Note the chain-like patterns. The bumps contain developing spores.
Sterile frond of netted chain fern. Compare this to sensitive fern, which is similar but has more deeply lobed leaflets.