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common woodsia

common woodsia (Woodsia obtusa)
Photo © John Hilty

Features and Behaviors

The common woodsia is a fern that may be ever-green and does produce new leaves throughout much of the year. Its stalks and the undersides of the leaves are hairy. Each leaf may be about 14 inches long and three inches wide and contains about 15 pairs of leaflets. The upper leaflets are pointed while the lower ones are rounded. Each leaflet is divided into about eight, rounded, toothed sub-leaflets. The yellow-to-brown rachis is grooved on the front side. The stipe is dark orange at the base and yellow on top.

The common woodsia may be found commonly statewide in Illinois except in the east central counties. It grows in dry or moist, rocky woods. Spore production occurs from May through October.

Illinois Range


​Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Pteridophyta
Class: Polypodiopsida
Order: Polypodiales
Family: Dryopteridaceae

Illinois Status: common, native