Connecticut Plants
Crested Fern (Crested Woodfern)
Dryopteris cristata (L.) Gray
  • Family: woodfern (Dryopteridaceae)
  • Habitat: damp woods, shaded wetlands
  • Height: 2-3 feet
  • Location of spores: underside of frond (see third image below)
  • Petiole (leaf stalk): green with many brown scales; dark at the base
  • Growth pattern: asymmetric clump
  • Persistence: evergreen fertile leaves; deciduous sterile leaves
  • Origin: native
Dryopteris cristata (L.) Gray

Crested fern has very narrow, erect fertile fronds (in the center of the photo). The sterile fronds are shorter, broader, and less erect (lower left in the photo).

Dryopteris cristata (L.) Gray

Lower part of a fertile frond. Note the small, triangular lowest leaflets.

Dryopteris cristata (L.) Gray

Underside of a frond, showing the round sori (spore-bearing dots), which are placed midway between the midvein and the leaf edge.