Woodwardia fimbriata
giant chain fern

Distribution: Occurring west of the Cascades crest in lowland western Washignton; Osouthern Vancouver Island to California, also in Nevada and Arizona.

Habitat: Mixed conifer and mixed conifer-hardwood forests, always where moist such as stream banks, springs, and seepy rocky outcrops.

Origin: Native

Growth Duration: Perennial

Conservation Status: Sensitive in Washington (WANHP)


Nearly erect evergreen perennial with stems forming a stout base; scales light brown, numerous, lanceolate-attenuate.


Leaves monomorphic, many, clustered into vase shape, 40-170 cm; petiole pale yellow, sometimes reddish at base, base thickened, covered with dense orange scales; blade pale green, elliptic-lanceolate, 25-100 cm, scaly-glandular when newly emerged, becoming glabrous; pinnae not articulate to rachis, 8-24 pairs, narrowly deltate to lanceolate, pinnafitid, from base to mid-stem 12-42 cm long and 2-5-8 cm broad.


Sori short and wide, mostly curved, sunken deeply into blades; indusia retaining shape and position after dehiscence of sporangia.

Accepted Name:
Woodwardia fimbriata Sm.
Publication: Cycl. 38(76). 1818.

Synonyms & Misapplications:
Woodwardia chamissoi Brack. [Abrams]
Additional Resources:

PNW Herbaria: Specimen records of Woodwardia fimbriata in the Consortium of Pacific Northwest Herbaria database

WA Flora Checklist: Woodwardia fimbriata checklist entry

OregonFlora: Woodwardia fimbriata information

E-Flora BC: Woodwardia fimbriata atlas page

CalPhotos: Woodwardia fimbriata photos

28 photographs:
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