Dennstaedtia punctilobula (Michx.) T. Moore - Hay-scented Fern


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Dennstaedtia punctilobula - (image 1 of 4)



Family: Dennstaedtiaceae


Open woods, clearings, and rocky slopes.




Newfoundland and Nova Scotia west to Ontario and MN, south to GA, AL, and AR.


Perennial, deciduous, rhizomatous fern. Leaves to 80 cm; petiole to 20 cm, chestnut colored at the base; blade fragrant (like hay), pale green, laceolate or lance-ovate, to 25 cm wide, bipinnate-pinnatifid; pinnae alternate or subopposite, in 17-25 pairs, each on a short petiolule. Sporangia small, dark, at the margins of the pinnae, surrounded by a distinctive, cup-like indusium.


Spores mature late summer into autumn

Wetland Indicator: NA, though it tends toward dry upland habitats in the north.

Restricted to the eastern U.S., this fern only occurs in two counties in IL and is absent from the Chicago Region. It is considered to be a weedy species by foresters in the east and tends to be passed over by browsing deer. As a result this species can become dominant in the understory of woodlands that have been heavily logged. It is drought tolerant and does rather well in sunnier habitats than many other ferns.


Gleason, Henry A. and A. Cronquist. 1991. Manual of Vascular Plants of Northeastern United States and Adjacent Canada. Second Ed.
The New York Botanical Garden. Bronx, NY


Lellinger, D. B. and M. Evans. 1985. A Field Manual of the Ferns & Fern Allies of the United States and Canada.

Smithsonian Institution Press. Washington, D.C.


USDA, NRCS. 2002. The PLANTS Database, Version 3.5 (
National Plant Data Center, Baton Rouge, LA 70874-4490 USA.




 Michael Hough 2009