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Clinton's Woodfern (Dryopteris clintoniana)

Life history

Species overview

Clinton's Woodfern (Dryopteris clintoniana), , is found in swampy woods. The optimal identification period for this species is late May through late September.

Synonyms: Aspidium cristatum var. clintoniana, Dryopteris cristata var. clintoniana, Dryopteris X poyseri, Thelypteris cristata var. clintoniana

Identification

  • Distinguishing characteristics: Fronds rarely more than 18 cm wide; basal pinnae narrowly elongate-deltate (not broadly deltate as in D. cristata), 2 times longer than wide, usually shorter than the pinnae above; pinnae on fertile fronds mostly in plane with the blade or slightly twisted, not fullly twisted at right angles to the blade (thus becoming more or less parallel to the ground on an erect frond) as in D. cristata.
  • Flower characteristics:
  • Fruit characteristics: Sori round, protected by a reniform indusium, appear in a single series on each side of segment midrib.
  • Leaf characteristics: Oblanceolate to oblong, 25 to 70 cm long and 15 to 18 cm wide, usually tapered to an obtuse base, acute to nearly obtuse below the apex with an acuminate tip, pinnate-pinnatified; basal pinnae narrowly elongate-deltate; fertile fronds slightly larger than sterile fronds, pinnae of fertile fronds mostly in plane with the blade or slightly twisted, not fullly twisted at right angles to the blade.

Phenology

  • Blooming phenology:
  • Fruiting phenology: June through August
  • Optimum time to identify: late May through late September

Other

  • Growth form: Fern
  • Vegetative reproduction: Rhizomatous
  • Life cycle: Perennial
  • Comments: Associated Species: Species of southern hardwood swamps.

State status

Status and Natural Heritage Inventory documented occurrences in Wisconsin

Clinton's Woodfern (Dryopteris clintoniana) is on the "watch list." Watch list species have experienced, or are believed to have experienced, a statewide or range wide decline, but they are not currently tracked in the Natural Heritage Inventory (NHI) database. The watch list includes newly discovered species for which origin and rarity need to be determined, certain animals designated as Species of Greatest Conservation Need (SGCN) in the Wisconsin Wildlife Action Plan, and species that were tracked in the past but proved more abundant, widespread or less vulnerable than previously thought. Although watch list species are not actively tracked by NHI, occurrences documented during surveys are often stored by NHI, as these species could be tracked in the future if there is further evidence of their decline.


Summary Information
State Statusnone
Federal Status in Wisconsinnone
State RankSH
Global RankG5
Tracked by NHIW

Habitats and landscapes

The Natural Heritage Inventory has developed scores indicating the degree to which each of Wisconsin's rare plant species is associated with a particular natural community or ecological landscape. This information is similar to that found in the Wildlife Action Plan for animals. As this is a work in progress, we welcome your suggestions and feedback.

General habitat information

  • Habitat description: Found in swampy woods.
  • Soils: Wet soils.

Natural communities

This table lists the natural communities that are associated with Clinton's Woodfern. Scores for natural community associations are: "significant" association (score=3), "moderate association" (score=2) or the species can be present but is only weakly associated with the community (score=1).

Natural communities score

Ecological landscapes

This table lists the ecological landscape association scores for Clinton's Woodfern. The scores (3=High, 2=Moderate, 1=Low, 0=None) also correspond to the map.

Map of the Ecological Landscapes of Wisconsin.

Ecological landscape score

Species guidance

The Endangered Resources Program has developed avoidance measures and management guidelines for plants on the Natural Heritage Working List. These are a work in progress, and we welcome your suggestions and feedback. Sources used in developing this information can be found here.

Clinton's Woodfern (Dryopteris clintoniana) has very few known occurrences in the state and is of the highest priority for conservation; we encourage you to consult with your District Ecologist or NHI Botanist for specific recommendations for your site.

Avoidance measures

These are specific actions designed to avoid "take" (mortality) of this species.

  • Avoid broadcast spraying of herbicides; use care with spot spraying.
  • Avoid known individual plant locations and conduct operations elsewhere when they are least likely to cause damage. Ideally, this would involve frozen, snow-covered ground. However, in areas of the state where frozen conditions are unreliable, very dry soils late in the growing season might be the best available alternative. Consult with a biologist, if needed.

Management guidance

Management guidelines are additional considerations that may help maintain or enhance habitat for this species

  • Although maintaining high overall forest canopy is important, silvicultural techniques which open small gaps in the canopy may be beneficial to this species.
  • Minimize disturbance to hydrology, including soil disturbance from rutting.

Photos


Clinton's Woodfern  Photo.

Specimen scanned by the Wisconsin Herbarium, Madison, WI.

Scanned specimen courtesy of Wisconsin Herbarium

Clinton's Woodfern  Photo.

Specimen scanned by the Wisconsin Herbarium, Madison, WI.

Scanned specimen courtesy of Wisconsin Herbarium

Clinton's Woodfern  Photo.

Specimen scanned by the Wisconsin Herbarium, Madison, WI.

Scanned specimen courtesy of Wisconsin Herbarium

Clinton's Woodfern  Photo.

Specimen scanned by the Wisconsin Herbarium, Madison, WI.

Scanned specimen courtesy of Wisconsin Herbarium

Clinton's Woodfern  Photo.

Photo © Emmet Judziewicz.

Clinton's Woodfern  Photo.

Scanned specimen courtesy of Wisconsin Herbarium

Clinton's Woodfern  Photo.

Scanned specimen courtesy of Wisconsin Herbarium


Support for Wisconsin's rare plant information has been provided by the Division of Forestry, the Endangered Resources Fund and the Wisconsin Rare Plant Preservation Fund. To donate, visit the Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin [exit DNR].

Last revised: Monday, April 30, 2018
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