This is a common fern, and it often grows in large colonies that carpet the forest floor. Notice how the frond tapers toward the base, and the lowest leaflets are very small. This is a good marker for New York fern. Hayscented fern shares the delicate appearance of New York fern, as well as its habit of covering forest floors, but the shape of the fronds distinguishes these ferns. Hayscented fern fronds are triangular in outline -- broadest at the base, not tapering.
- Synonyms: Thelypteris noveboracensis
- Family: marsh fern (Thelypteridaceae)
- Habitat: moist woods in filtered light
- Height: 1-2 feet
- Location of spores: underside of fronds
- Petiole (leaf stalk): smooth or slightly hairy, pale green above, brown and scaly at the base
- Growth pattern: random
- Persistence: deciduous
- Origin: native
Notice how the frond tapers at both ends, and the lowest leaflets are very small.
New York fern often grows in colonies of hundreds of plants.
Underside of a frond, showing the sori (spore-containing dots).