E-Flora BC: Electronic Atlas of the Flora of British Columbia

Athyrium filix-femina (L.) Roth
lady fern
Dryopteridaceae (Wood Fern family)

Introduction to Vascular Plants

© Kevin Newell  Email the photographer   (Photo ID #2737)

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Distribution of Athyrium filix-femina
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Athyrium filix-femina var. cyclosorum

Species Information

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Deciduous perennial arising from a short, stout rhizome.
Numerous, in vase-like tufts, 30-180 cm long, 10-70 cm wide, broadly lanceolate, broadest in the middle and gradually narrowed both to the base and to the top, 2-pinnate with pinnae divided into numerous ultimate segments.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia

Habitat / Range

Mesic to wet alluvial forests, glades, streambanks, gullies, slidetracks, meadows, swamps and rock outcrops from the lowland and steppe to alpine zones; common throughout BC; amphiberingian, N to AK, YT and NT, E to NF and S to SD, NM, AZ and CA; E Asia.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


Ecological Framework for Athyrium filix-femina

The table below shows the species-specific information calculated from
original data (BEC database) provided by the BC Ministry of Forests and Range.
(Updated August, 2013)

Site Information
Value / Class




Elevation (metres) 0 771 2750
Slope Gradient (%) 0 17 350
Aspect (degrees)
[0 - N; 90 - E; 180 - S; 270 - W]
0 335 360
Soil Moisture Regime (SMR)
[0 - very xeric; 4 - mesic;
8 - hydric]
0 5 8
Modal Nutrient Regime
Number of field plots
 species was recorded in:
Modal BEC Zone Class
All BEC Zones (# of stations/zone) species was recorded in: BG(1), BWBS(12), CDF(92), CMA(3), CWH(2273), ESSF(1080), ICH(1841), IDF(106), MH(159), MS(139), PP(4), SBPS(14), SBS(838)

Ecological Indicator Information

A shade-tolerant, submontane to montane, circumpolar fern distributed in Pacific, Cordilleran, and Atlantic North America. Occurs on very moist to wet, nitrogen-rich soils within boreal, temperate, and mesothermal climates. Plentiful to abundant (occasionally dominant) in non-forested communities or forest understories on water-receiving (alluvial, floodplain, seepage, and stream-edge) sites; often inhabits water-collecting (swamps and fens) sites. A nitrophytic species characteristic of Moder and Mull humus forms.

SourceIndicator Plants of Coastal British Columbia (Information applies to coastal locations only)

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