Dennstaedtia punctilobula (Michx.) T. Moore

eastern hay-scented fern

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New England Distribution

Adapted from BONAP data

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North America Distribution

Adapted from BONAP data

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Facts About

Eastern hay-scented fern is so-called because it smells like hay, especially toward the end of the season when the fronds are turning their characteristic yellow-brown color. Because deer generally don't eat it, it forms dense colonies in forest understories that can shade out tree seedlings and hamper regeneration.

Habitat

Anthropogenic (man-made or disturbed habitats), forests, meadows and fields, talus and rocky slopes

Characteristics

Habitat
terrestrial
New England state
  • Connecticut
  • Maine
  • Massachusetts
  • New Hampshire
  • Rhode Island
  • Vermont
Leaf divisions
  • the leaf blade is three times compound (divided into leaflets, which are further divided into leaflets, which are further divided into leaflets), or more
  • the leaf blade is twice compound (divided into leaflets, which are further divided into leaflets)
Plant growth form
the leaves grow from a rhizome growing at or below the ground
Spore-bearing leaflets
the spore-bearing fronds are similar in size and shape to the sterile fronds
Sorus shape
the sori are circular or kidney-shaped
Leaf stalk scales
  • the leaf stalk has scales
  • there are no scales on the leaf stalk
Leaf stalk hairs
the leaf stalk has hairs
Leaf blade length
15–90 cm
Leaf vein tips
the veins go all the way to the edge of the leaf blade
Show All Characteristics
  • Growth form
    Life form
    the plant is herbaceous and terrestrial
    Life stage
    the plant is visible as a typical leaf-bearing fern (sporophyte)
    Spore-bearing leaflets
    the spore-bearing fronds are similar in size and shape to the sterile fronds
  • Leaves
    Features of leaves
    there are no special features on the leaves
    Leaf blade length
    15–90 cm
    Leaf blade shape
    the leaf blades are widest above the base, then taper narrowly towards the tip (lanceolate)
    Leaf blade tip shape
    the tip of the leaf blade is tapered to a narrow point (acuminate)
    Leaf blade width
    At least 12 cm
    Leaf divisions
    • the leaf blade is three times compound (divided into leaflets, which are further divided into leaflets, which are further divided into leaflets), or more
    • the leaf blade is twice compound (divided into leaflets, which are further divided into leaflets)
    Leaf lifespan
    the leaves drop off in winter
    Leaf stalk color
    yellow to brown
    Leaf stalk hairs
    the leaf stalk has hairs
    Leaf stalk length
    100–220 mm
    Leaf stalk relative length
    the leaf stalk is more than a quarter, but less than three quarters as long as the blade
    Leaf stalk scale location
    there are no scales on the leaf stalk
    Leaf stalk scales
    • the leaf stalk has scales
    • there are no scales on the leaf stalk
    Leaf stalk vessels
    1 bundle, U-shaped
    Leaf vein branching
    the secondary veins of the leaf blade branch dichotomously (two equal branches at each branch point)
    Leaf vein tips
    the veins go all the way to the edge of the leaf blade
    Leaflet relative size
    the bottom leaflets are about half as long as, to slightly longer than, the leaflets from the middle of the frond
    Leaflet stalks
    the leaflets are stalked
    Lobe or leaflet length
    80–120 mm
    Lobe or leaflet pairs
    17–40
    Lobe or leaflet shape
    • the lobe or leaflet is widest below the middle and broadly tapering at both ends; egg-shaped
    • the lobe or leaflet is widest below the middle and tapering at both ends; lance-shaped
    Lobe or leaflet width
    20–30 mm
    Plant growth form
    the leaves grow from a rhizome growing at or below the ground
    final leaf segment margin
    • the topmost lobe or leaflet of the leaf blade has a smooth or lobed edge
    • the topmost lobe or leaflet of the leaf blade has an edge with teeth
  • Place
    Habitat
    terrestrial
    New England state
    • Connecticut
    • Maine
    • Massachusetts
    • New Hampshire
    • Rhode Island
    • Vermont
    Specific habitat
    • forests
    • man-made or disturbed habitats
    • meadows or fields
    • talus or rocky slopes
  • Spores or spore cones
    Sorus features
    there are no special features on the sorus
    Sorus shape
    the sori are circular or kidney-shaped
    Sporangia location
    the spores are clustered on sori on the lower surface of the leaf blade
    Sporangium type
    the sporangia are opaque without an annulus and usually without a stalk (leptosporangiate)
    Spore forms
    there is only one type of spore present

Wetland Status

Occurs only in non-wetlands. (Wetland indicator code: UPL)

New England Distribution and Conservation Status

Distribution

Connecticut
present
Maine
present
Massachusetts
present
New Hampshire
present
Rhode Island
present
Vermont
present

Conservation Status

Exact status definitions can vary from state to state. For details, please check with your state.

Massachusetts
unranked (S-rank: SNR)

Native to North America?

Yes

Synonyms

  • Nephrodium punctilobulum Michx.

Genus

Dennstaedtia

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