Netted Chain Fern (Woodwardia areolata)

Common names:
Give a thumbs up Netted Chain Fern
Give a thumbs up Netted Chainfern
Give a thumbs up Chain Fern

General Plant Information (Edit)
Plant Habit: Fern
Life cycle: Perennial
Sun Requirements: Partial or Dappled Shade
Partial Shade to Full Shade
Water Preferences: Wet Mesic
Soil pH Preferences: Moderately acid (5.6 – 6.0)
Slightly acid (6.1 – 6.5)
Minimum cold hardiness: Zone 4a -34.4 °C (-30 °F) to -31.7 °C (-25 °F)
Maximum recommended zone: Zone 9b
Plant Height: 12 to 18 inches
Plant Spread: 12 to 18 inches
Underground structures: Rhizome
Suitable Locations: Bog gardening
Uses: Groundcover
Will Naturalize
Resistances: Rabbit Resistant
Humidity tolerant
Propagation: Other methods: Division


Photo gallery:
Location: Jenkins Arboretum in Berwyn, PennsylvaniaDate: 2018-11-04foliage
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Location: Jenkins Arboretum in Berwyn, PennsylvaniaDate: 2018-11-04small colony at pond edge
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Location: Jenkins Arboretum in Berwyn, PennsylvaniaDate: 2018-11-04fertile fronds, more erect with narrow leaflets
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Posted by SongofJoy (Clarksville, TN - Zone 6b) on Jan 15, 2012 3:37 PM

A deciduous fern widely ranging in the eastern US where it grows in moist woods. The Netted Chain Fern forms spreading colonies from its branching and creeping rhizomes. Glossy green sterile fronds grow about 2' tall and have 8 to 10 broad segments. The texture is soft. Fertile fronds are stiffer, narrower, and more upright. The leaflets, or pinnae, of both fertile and sterile fronds have conspicuously netted veins, resulting in the common name, Chain Fern. This fern is easy to grow in a moist shaded spot and will form a fast ground cover with constant moisture.

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Posted by ILPARW (southeast Pennsylvania - Zone 6b) on Nov 5, 2018 12:30 PM

This Netted Chain Fern is native from Nova Scotia through Michigan to southern Illinois & Missouri to east Texas to central Florida, growing in woodland swamps, marshes, moist woods, floodplains, water edges, and along brackish water. The sterile fronds are the regular-looking fern foliage about 1.5 to 2 feet long with 8 to 10 pairs of leaflets (pinnae) appearing in spring, and then the fertile fronds appear in summer and are about 1.5 to 2 feet long but have almost linear, very narrow leaflets. There are netted veins on both kinds of fronds and the fertile fronds have sort of rectangular shaped sori (spore producing structures) in chain-like rows. This fern produces slender brown rhizomes so that it is a spreading fern species to form a colony or groundcover. I've never seen this species sold at conventional nurseries.

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Discussion Threads about this plant
Thread Title Last Reply Replies
Lady Fern returns by Seedfork Apr 10, 2015 5:04 PM 13

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