5: 411. 1793 Chain fern [in honor of Thomas Jenkin. 1745.

Common names: Chain fern
Etymology: in honor of Thomas Jenkin 1820, English botanist
Synonyms: Anchistea C. Presl Lorinseria C. Presl
Treatment appears in FNA Volume 2.

Plants terrestrial or rarely on rock. Stems long-creeping to erect, slender to stout, not climbing; scales brown. Leaves monomorphic (dimorphic in 1 species), clustered or well separated. Blades pinnate or pinnatifid. Rachises and costae scaly. Veins anastomosing in both sterile and fertile leaves, forming a regular series of areoles along costae and costules, further anastomosing in 1 species. Sori discrete, in chainlike rows along costae or costules, extending only the length of individual areolar veins. Spores with perine irregularly folded. x = 34, 35.


North America, Central America, Mediterranean Europe, e Asia.


Woodwardia radicans (Linnaeus) Smith has been reported as an escape from cultivation in Florida and in the Sierra Nevada in California; it has not persisted. It and the commonly cultivated Woodwardia unigemmata Makino resemble Woodwardia fimbriata Smith, but both W. radicans and W. unigemmata are distinguished by having a scaly bulblet near the apex of the leaf.

Species 14 (3 in the flora).

Selected References



1 Leaves strongly dimorphic; sterile blades ± pinnatifid, with 2 or more rows of areoles between costae and margin, veins free only at margin. Woodwardia areolata
1 Leaves ± monomorphic; sterile blades pinnate, with 1 row of areoles adjacent to costae or costules, veins free to margin. > 2
2 Stems forming stout caudex covered with petiole bases, suberect; petioles straw-colored and densely covered with orangish scales at base; pinnae not articulate to rachis. Woodwardia fimbriata
2 Stems relatively slender to ca. 1 cm diam., long- creeping; petioles blackish and glabrate at base; pinnae articulate to rachis. Woodwardia virginica