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Fragile Fern (Brittle Fern)
Cystopteris fragilis

Fragile fern is very similar to slender fragile fern; until recently, they were considered to be varieties of the same species. In Connecticut, fragile fern probably occurs only in the most northern parts of the state. Where they both occur, they can be quite difficult to distinguish. See the Flora of North America Cystopteris fragilis page for a discussion of the differences.

• Family: Dryopteridaceae
• Habitat: rich woodlands, esp. on exposed rocky surfaces
• Height: fronds 5-12 inches long
• Location of spores: undersides of leaflets
• Stipe (leaf stalk): Slender, smooth with a few scales near base. Dark brown/black at base becoming yellow or green above.
• Growth pattern: asymmetric clump
• Persistence: deciduous

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Cystopteris fragilis



Fragile fern is a small fern with weak stems. This fern is letting its fronds flop down the rock face that it grows on.


Last updated November 25, 2005. © 2005 Connecticut Botanical Society. All rights reserved.