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Woodsia obtusa (Spreng.) Torr.

Blunt-lobed cliff fern

KingdomPlantaePlants, but not fungi, lichens, or algae
SubkingdomTracheobiontaVascular plants—plants with a “circulatory system” for delivering water and nutrients
ClassFilicopsida“Leptosporangiate” (has to do with how their spores form) ferns—includes most ferns
OrderPolypodialesPolypod ferns
FamilyDryopteridaceaeWood ferns (about 70% of the ferns)
GenusWoodsiaFor Joseph Woods (1776-1864), English architect and botanical author
Speciesobtusa“Blunt,” for the blunt lobes and pinnules

About plant names...

Blunt-lobed cliff fern is a North American native. They tolerate temperatures as low as –35°C.

Identification: Leaf stalks are scaly, with hairs. Fronds are lacy, 24" (60 cm) × 3" (8 cm), bipinnate. The sterile fronds are evergreen, while the fertile fronds are not. Fronds are light green to gray-green. Sori, the structures that contain the fern's spores, are located on leaf undersides. They form a regular array of dots that are circular or kidney-shaped.

Online References:

Illinois Wildflowers

The Hardy Fern Library

The Vanderbilt University Bioimages web site

Wikimedia Commons

The Missouri Botanical Garden

Discover Life

The New England Wildflower Society’s GoBotany site



Woodsia obtusa description by Thomas H. Kent, last updated 25 May 2020.

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Woodsia obtusa (blunt-lobed cliff fern)

5/22/2010 · Garden in the Woods, Framingham, Mass­a­chu­setts
≈ 17 × 12" (44 × 29 cm)

Range: Zones 4-9:

About this map...