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marginal shield fern

marginal shield fern (Dryopteris marginalis) [top] [bottom]
Photos © John Hilty

Features and Behaviors

This plant's leaves remain green throughout the year. It grows in clumps of leaves that are about 18 inches long and six inches wide. Each blue-green leaf arches back from the stipe. The leaf is divided into pointed leaflets, each of which is further divided into 20 or more pairs of blunt-tipped, lobed subleaflets. The pale rachis is scaly. The stipe is brown-green above and red-brown at the base. It is covered with scales.

The marginal shield fern may be found statewide in Illinois. It grows in rocky woods. Spores are produced from June through October.

Illinois Range


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

Illinois Status: common, native