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Slender Fragile Fern (Mackay's Brittle Fern)
Cystopteris tenuis (Cystopteris fragilis var. mackayi)

Slender fragile fern is very similar to fragile fern; until recently, they were considered to be variety of the same species.

• Family: Dryopteridaceae
• Habitat: shaded rocky areas, occasionally on the forest floor
• Height: fronds 6-14 inches long
• Location of spores: undersides of leaflets
• Stipe (leaf stalk): Slender, smooth with a few scales near base. Dark brown or black at base, becoming yellow or green above.
• Growth pattern: asymmetric clump
• Persistence: deciduous

next fern
Cystopteris tenuis


A frond of slender fragile fern.


Underside of a frond, showing the sori (spore-bearing structures).


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