Jepson eFlora: Taxon page
Vascular Plants of California
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Woodwardia fimbriata

Higher Taxonomy
Family: BlechnaceaeView DescriptionDichotomous Key
Habit: Plants in soil [climbing]; rhizome short- to long-creeping to erect, scaly; new growth often +- red. Leaf: of 1 or 2 kinds, fertile, sterile; stipe in ×-section with vascular strands in circle; blade [(simple or 2-pinnate)] deeply pinnately lobed to 1-pinnate, pinnae deeply pinnately lobed or not, hairs generally 0; veins free or netted. Sporangia: sori linear to oblong, along veins parallel to nearest midrib; indusium shaped +- like sorus, opening towards nearest midrib; stalk cells in 2--3 rows; spores elliptic, scar linear.
Genera In Family: 24 genera, +- 250 species: worldwide, especially tropics; several species cultivated. Note: Until recently, most species usually treated in an extremely morphologically heterogeneous Blechnum, with some species more closely related to other genera (such as Brainea, Doodia, Sadleria) than to other species of Blechnum.
eFlora Treatment Author: Carl J. Rothfels, John C. Game, Alan R. Smith & Thomas Lemieux
Scientific Editor: Bruce G. Baldwin, Alan R. Smith, Thomas J. Rosatti.
Genus: WoodwardiaView Description 

Common Name: CHAIN FERN
Habit: Rhizome prostrate to ascending; scales dense, orange-brown. Leaf: all alike, lower pinnae generally slightly reduced or not; veins of sterile leaves netted but free at margin. Sporangia: sori oblong.
Etymology: (T.J. Woodward, British phycologist, 1745--1820)
Unabridged Note: "Woodwardioid" ferns are an outlying (sister) lineage to the rest of Blechnaceae, and often all treated in Woodwardia. Recent treatments recognize the two most distantly related species of eastern North America as Anchistea and Lorinseria (Pteridophyte Phylogeny Group 1 2016 J Syst Evol in press; de Gaspar et al. 2016 Phytotaxa 275: 191--227)
eFlora Treatment Author: John C. Game, Alan R. Smith & Thomas Lemieux
Woodwardia fimbriata Sm.
Habit: Rhizome prostrate, short, stout. Leaf: evergreen, generally 1--3 m, coarse; stipe generally 5--15 mm wide at base, scales large, orange-brown to straw-colored; pinnae generally 15--30 cm, often glandular, lobed +- to midrib, lower +- reduced. Sporangia: sori generally +- 2--4 mm. Chromosomes: 2n=68.
Ecology: Near streams, springs, seeps; Elevation: +- 0--2300 m. Bioregional Distribution: CA-FP (rare GV); Distribution Outside California: to British Columbia, Nevada, Arizona, northwestern Mexico.
Synonyms: Woodwardia chamissoi Brack.; Woodwardia radicans (L.) Sm., misappl.
Jepson eFlora Author: John C. Game, Alan R. Smith & Thomas Lemieux
Index of California Plant Names (ICPN; linked via the Jepson Online Interchange)

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Botanical illustration including Woodwardia fimbriata

botanical illustration including Woodwardia fimbriata


Citation for this treatment: John C. Game, Alan R. Smith & Thomas Lemieux 2012, Woodwardia fimbriata, in Jepson Flora Project (eds.) Jepson eFlora,, accessed on January 29, 2023.

Citation for the whole project: Jepson Flora Project (eds.) 2023, Jepson eFlora,, accessed on January 29, 2023.

Woodwardia fimbriata
click for enlargement
© 2008 Keir Morse
Woodwardia fimbriata
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© 2007 Neal Kramer
Woodwardia fimbriata
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© 2003 Michael Charters
Woodwardia fimbriata
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© 2010 Neal Kramer
Woodwardia fimbriata
click for enlargement
© 2008 Keir Morse
Woodwardia fimbriata
click for enlargement
© 2003 Keir Morse

More photos of Woodwardia fimbriata in CalPhotos

Geographic subdivisions for Woodwardia fimbriata:
CA-FP (rare GV)
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2. County and Jepson Region polygons can be turned off and on using the check boxes.
map of distribution 1
(Note: any qualifiers in the taxon distribution description, such as 'northern', 'southern', 'adjacent' etc., are not reflected in the map above, and in some cases indication of a taxon in a subdivision is based on a single collection or author-verified occurence).


Data provided by the participants of the  Consortium of California Herbaria.
View all CCH records
All markers link to CCH specimen records. The original determination is shown in the popup window.
Blue markers indicate specimens that map to one of the expected Jepson geographic subdivisions (see left map). Purple markers indicate specimens collected from a garden, greenhouse, or other non-wild location.
Yellow markers indicate records that may provide evidence for eFlora range revision or may have georeferencing or identification issues.

CCH collections by month

Duplicates counted once; synonyms included.
Species do not include records of infraspecific taxa, if there are more than 1 infraspecific taxon in CA.
Blue line denotes eFlora flowering time (fruiting time in some monocot genera).