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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, 2′ (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

Wikimedia Commons

The Missouri Botanical Garden

Discover Life



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:

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