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

Woodsia alpina (Bolton) Gray
alpine cliff fern (alpine woodsia)
Dryopteridaceae (Wood Fern family)

Introduction to Vascular Plants

© Alfred Cook  Email the photographer   (Photo ID #26625)

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Distribution of Woodsia alpina
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Species Information

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Deciduous perennial arising in clusters from a short rhizome.
Narrowly lanceolate, 3-20 cm long, 0.5-3 cm wide, 2-pinnate, stipes jointed, rachis with scattered hairs and scales; ultimate segments fan-like, with shallow teeth towards the tips.
Plants of W. alpina resemble diminutive plants of Cystopteris fragilis.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia

Habitat / Range

Moist calcareous rocks in the montane and subalpine zones; rare in N BC; circumpolar, N to AK, YT and NT, E to NF and S to ME, NY, MI and MN; Eurasia.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


Ecological Framework for Woodsia alpina

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) 1099 1503 1740
Slope Gradient (%) 35 47 57
Aspect (degrees)
[0 - N; 90 - E; 180 - S; 270 - W]
190 225 260
Soil Moisture Regime (SMR)
[0 - very xeric; 4 - mesic;
8 - hydric]
0 1 2
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: BAFA(2), IDF(1)


The climate type for this species, as reported in the: "British Columbia plant species codes and selected attributes. Version 6 Database" (Meidinger et al. 2008), is not evaluated, unknown or variable.

Synonyms and Alternate Names

Woodsia alpina var. bellii G. Lawson
Woodsia glabella var. bellii (Lawson) Lawson

Taxonomic and Nomenclatural Links

Additional Photo Sources

General References