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BLECHNACEAE (Deer Fern Family)

References: Lellinger (1985); Cranfill in FNA (1993b).

A family of about 9 genera and 200 species, cosmopolitan in distribution.

Woodwardia J.E. Smith (Chain Fern)

A genus of about 13 species of temperate and tropical portions of the Northern Hemisphere.

1. Sterile leaves pinnatifid, the pinnae 7-10 pairs per leaf, basally not distinct from one another, the rachis therefore winged by leaf tissue throughout its length, the pinnae merely finely serrulate......W. areolata

1. Sterile leaves pinnate-pinnatifid, the pinnae 15-20 pairs per leaf, fully distinct, the rachis therefore not winged by leaf tissue, the pinnae themselves pinnatifid......W. virginica

Woodwardia areolata (Linnaeus) T. Moore, Netted Chain Fern. Cp, Pd, Mt (NC, SC, VA): moist to wet, acid, organic soils, such as bogs, blackwater bottomlands, pocosins; common (rare in VA Mountains). May-September. Ranging from Nova Scotia west to MI and MO, south to FL and e. TX, primarily on the Coastal Plain. When fruiting structures are not present, sometimes confused with Onoclea, but W. areolata has the pinnae tending to be alternate (vs. tending to be opposite), the pinnae tending to be acute or acuminate (vs. obtuse), and the pinna margin finely serrulate (vs. entire). See Cranfill (1983) for a discussion of the geography and ecology of W. areolata. [= RAB, C, F, FNA, G, K, W; Lorinseria areolata (Linnaeus) K. Presl -- S]

Woodwardia virginica (Linnaeus) J.E. Smith, Virginia Chain Fern. Cp, Mt, Pd (NC, SC, VA): moist to wet, acid, organic soils, such as bogs, blackwater bottomlands, pocosins, sometimes in standing water, as in periodically flooded coastal plain depression ponds; common (rare in VA Mountains and VA Piedmont). June-September. Ranging from Nova Scotia west to MI and IL, south to FL and TX, and in Bermuda, primarily on the Coastal Plain. Sometimes confused when sterile with Osmunda cinnamomea (which see for discussion). [= RAB, C, F, FNA, G, K, W; Anchistea virginica (Linnaeus) K. Presl -- S]

Other genera and species in eastern North America: Blechnum occidentale Linnaeus var. minor Hooker of FL, GA, LA, and TX. Blechnum serrulatum Richard of FL.


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Flora of the Carolinas and Virginia, Working Draft of 27 October 1997 -- KEY TO PTERIDOPHYTE GENERA. Alan S. Weakley. The Nature Conservancy, Southeast Regional Office, Southern Conservation Science Department.