Connecticut Plants
Massachusetts Fern
Parathelypteris simulata (Davenport) Holttum

Massachusetts fern is not a rare fern, yet it was not discovered until 1894. To a casual glance, it looks like a marsh fern.

  • Synonyms: Thelypteris simulata (Davenport) Nieuwl.
  • Family: marsh fern (Thelypteridaceae)
  • Habitat: moist, acid woods and swamps, especially cedar swamps
  • Height: 18 to 30 inches
  • Location of spores: underside of fronds
  • Petiole (leaf stalk): green to yellow-brown, with a few scales at the base
  • Growth pattern: random
  • Persistence: deciduous
  • Origin: native

Underside of a fertile leaflet, showing the kidney-shaped sori (spore-bearing dots). Note that the leaf edges are not rolled around the sori; this is the easiest way to distinguish Massachusetts fern from the similar-looking marsh fern. Also, Massachusetts fern has veins that are unforked, while marsh fern has mostly forked veins.