A Drier Place, Two Not-So-Big Ferns

In the drier (but still moist) woodlands towards the top of Sugarloaf Mountain you can find more species of ferns, not as big as the ones I posted about last time. Both these species are light-colored and medium-sized, and both will form large colonies.


New York fern
Thelypteris noveboracensis


New York fern’s distinguishing characteristic is the shape of the blade, which tapers at both ends.


Each pinna is deeply lobed, but not cut all the way to the costa (midrib). Note that the rachis, costa, and pinnae are smooth (as opposed to hay-scented fern below).




a good-sized colony of New York fern about halfway up Sugarloaf Mountain

New York fern ranges from Oklahoma and Louisiana east and north up into Quebec and Newfoundland. It’s endangered in Illinois and exploitably vulnerable in New York.






hay-scented fern
Dennstaedtia punctilobula

The blade of hay-scented fern is 2 pinnate-pinnatifid (meaning twice cut, the pinnules deeply lobed but not cut all the way to the costa).



If you zoom in you can see fine hairs on the rachis, costa, and pinnules.


forest floor carpeted with hay-scented fern

Hay-scented fern ranges from Missouri and Arkansas east to the Atlantic and north into Canada. It’s endangered in Illinois and possibly extirpated in Michigan.

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