Overview

Comprehensive Description

Comments

This medium-large fern has elegantly shaped evergreen fronds. Because it has a fairly conventional appearance for a fern, it may not be easy to identify at first glance. The most distinctive trait of the Marginal Shield Fern is the location of its sori
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Description

This perennial fern produces a rosette of ascending to arching evergreen leaves from a vertical rootstock. The compound leaves are about 1–2½' long and 4-9" across (excluding their petioles); they are lanceolate-ovate in outline and their structure is bipinnate to bipinnate-pinnatifid. Individual leaves have 12-20 pairs of leaflets along their rachises (central stalks); these leaflets are longest toward the lower middle or middle of each leaf. The tips of compound leaves are rather long and slender, where the leaflets have been replaced by small lobes. Individual leaflets are linear-lanceolate to oblong-lanceolate in outline with slender tips; they are pinnate with 8-20 pairs of subleaflets. Individual subleaflets are short-oblong or short lanceolate-oblong in shape and their margins are shallowly cleft and/or crenate; the tips of subleaflets are obtuse. The upper leaf surface is yellowish green or medium to dark green, while the lower leaf surface is slightly more pale; both leaf surfaces are hairless. The petioles are 3-10" long and light green or pale reddish-green; they are more or less covered with brown membranous scales (especially along the lower half), otherwise they are glabrous. The rachises (central stalks) of compound leaves are light green to nearly white and glabrous to slightly scaly; they are narrowly grooved above and convex below. Both the compound leaves and their leaflets can be straight, or they may curve gently in one direction or another. The sori (spore-bearing structures) develop on the undersides of the leaves; they are located along the margins of the subleaflets. Subleaflets can have 1-6 pairs of sori along their margins. These small sori are orange-brown to brown and round in shape; the sori are covered have thin indusia (protective membranes). Eventually, these indusia wither away so that the sori can release their spores to the wind; this usually occurs during the late summer or autumn. The root system consists of stout scaly rhizomes with fibrous roots. Clonal colonies of plants are occasionally formed from the rhizomes. Cultivation
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Source: Illinois Wildflowers

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Distribution

Range and Habitat in Illinois

The native Marginal Shield Fern is common in southern Illinois, and occasional to rare elsewhere in the state (see Distribution Map). Habitats include rocky woodlands, rocky wooded slopes, sandstone ravines, and wooded slopes of stabilized sand dunes. This fern is often found in areas where sandstone is exposed to the ground surface; it is especially common in the Shawnee Hills of southern Illinois.
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National Distribution

Canada

Origin: Native

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Present

Confidence: Confident

United States

Origin: Native

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Present

Confidence: Confident

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Greenland; N.B., Nfld, N.S., Ont., Que.; Ala., Ark., Conn., Del., Ga., Ill., Ind., Iowa, Kans., Ky., Maine, Md., Mass., Mich., Miss., Mo., N.H., N.J., N.Y., N.C., Ohio, Okla., Pa., R.I., S.C., Tenn., Vt., Va., W.Va., Wis.
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Physical Description

Morphology

Description

Leaves monomorphic, green through winter, 30--100 × 10--25 cm. Petiole 1/4--1/3 length of leaf, scaly at base; scales in dense tuft, pale tawny. Blade bluish green, ovate-lanceolate, pinnate-pinnatifid to 2-pinnate at base, leathery, not glandular. Pinnae ± in plane of blade, lanceolate; basal pinnae lanceolate, slightly reduced, basal pinnules longer than adjacent pinnules, basal basiscopic pinnule longer than basal acroscopic pinnule; pinnule margins shallowly crenate to nearly entire. Sori near margin of segments. Indusia lacking glands. 2 n = 82.
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Diagnostic Description

Synonym

Polypodium marginale Linnaeus, Sp. Pl. 2: 1091. 1753
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Ecology

Habitat

Range and Habitat in Illinois

The native Marginal Shield Fern is common in southern Illinois, and occasional to rare elsewhere in the state (see Distribution Map). Habitats include rocky woodlands, rocky wooded slopes, sandstone ravines, and wooded slopes of stabilized sand dunes. This fern is often found in areas where sandstone is exposed to the ground surface; it is especially common in the Shawnee Hills of southern Illinois.
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Rocky, wooded slopes and ravines, edges of woods, stream banks and roadbanks, and rock walls; 50--1500m.
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Associations

Faunal Associations

The Marginal Shield Fern and other shield ferns (Dryopteris spp.) are host plants of an aphid, Amphorophora ampullata; the Marginal Shield Fern is also a possible host plant of another aphid, Macrosiphum miho (Blackman & Eastop, 2013). The latter aphid has been found on ferns growing along rocky cliffs in Illinois. The evergreen foliage of the Marginal Shield Fern is considered toxic to mammalian herbivores; it is rarely browsed by White-Tailed Deer. Both the rhizomes and leaves are toxic to humans. Photographic Location
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Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

Barcode data: Dryopteris marginalis

The following is a representative barcode sequence, the centroid of all available sequences for this species.


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Source: Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLD)

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Statistics of barcoding coverage: Dryopteris marginalis

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 5
Specimens with Barcodes: 9
Species With Barcodes: 1
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Conservation

Conservation Status

National NatureServe Conservation Status

Canada

Rounded National Status Rank: N5 - Secure

United States

Rounded National Status Rank: N5 - Secure

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NatureServe Conservation Status

Rounded Global Status Rank: G5 - Secure

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Wikipedia

Dryopteris marginalis

Sori on the frond underside.

Dryopteris marginalis is known as the marginal shield fern or marginal wood fern. The marginal wood fern favors damp shady areas and is found throughout eastern North America. It favors moderately acid to circumneutral soils. It favors cooler areas, but is fairly drought-resistant once established. In the warmer parts of its range, it is most likely to be found on north-facing non-calcareous rock faces.

The evergreen leaves reach a maximum length of 1–2 ft, with a single crown on each rootstock. The round sori are located on the margins of the leaf tissue, hence the common name. Just before the spore ripens, the sori turn an interesting blue-violet color.

References and external links[edit]

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Notes

Comments

Dryopteris marginalis is an eastern North America endemic. Even though this species hybridizes with 10 other species, and some of these hybrids are fairly common, D . marginalis is not known to be involved in the formation of any fertile polyploid. Hybrids can be detected by malformed spores and the nearly marginal sorus position.
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