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filmy fern

filmy fern (Vandenboschia boschiana)
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Features and Behaviors

The filmy fern is also known as the bristle fern. It is an extremely delicate plant with leaves only one cell thick. The leaves grow very close together and often form a mat. Each leaf is about six inches long and one and one‐half inches wide. The light-green leaves are evergreen and lance‐shaped. Each leaf is divided into about six pairs of lacy leaflets, and the leaflet is divided further into two or more subleaflets. The short, green stipe is winged. The green rachis is also winged.

The filmy fern may be found in Johnson and Pope counties in Illinois. It grows under moist, overhanging sandstone cliffs. Spores are produced from June through September.

Illinois Range


​Kingdom: Plantae

Division: Pteridophyta

Class: Filicopsida

Order: Polypodiales

Family: Hymenophyllaceae

Illinois Status

​common, native

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