Woodwardia areolata
Netted chain-fern
Image of Woodwardia areolata

Photo by Brad Slaughter 

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Key Characteristics

Medium-sized fern (40-60 cm) of southern acidic swamps; sterile fronds broadly elliptical, with once-divided or deeply lobed leaves; fertile fronds with pinnae much narrowed, bearing chain-like rows of sori on the underside.

Status and Rank

  • State Status: X
  • State Rank: SX
  • Global Rank: G5


County NameNumber of OccurrencesYear Last Observed
Van Buren11880
Distribution map for Woodwardia areolata

Updated 5/15/2018. Information is summarized from MNFI's database of rare species and community occurrences. Data may not reflect true distribution since much of the state has not been thoroughly surveyed.


Netted chain-fern was found in a swamp near South Haven, growing under a sparse canopy. In general it favors acidic habitats. It was last documented in Michigan in 1880.

Natural Community Types


For each species, lists of natural communities were derived from review of the nearly 6,500 element occurrences in the MNFI database, in addition to herbarium label data for some taxa. In most cases, at least one specimen record exists for each listed natural community. For certain taxa, especially poorly collected or extirpated species of prairie and savanna habitats, natural community lists were derived from inferences from collection sites and habitat preferences in immediately adjacent states (particularly Indiana and Illinois). Natural communities are not listed for those species documented only from altered or ruderal habitats in Michigan, especially for taxa that occur in a variety of habitats outside of the state.

Natural communities are not listed in order of frequency of occurrence, but are rather derived from the full set of natural communities, organized by Ecological Group. In many cases, the general habitat descriptions should provide greater clarity and direction to the surveyor. In future versions of the Rare Species Explorer, we hope to incorporate natural community fidelity ranks for each taxon.

Associated Plants

Red maple, yellow birch, poison sumac, royal fern, and Carex seorsa.


Though not seen for over a century, it is thought that this species may be extant, and needs to be sought. If found, protection of habitat and maintenance of hydrology would be the primary management concerns.

General Survey Guidelines

Random meander search covers areas that appear likely to have rare taxa, based on habitat and the judgement of the investigator.

Survey Methods

Page Citation

Michigan Natural Features Inventory. 2007. Rare Species Explorer (Web Application). Available online at http://mnfi.anr.msu.edu/explorer [Accessed Sep 24, 2018]


Survey References

Technical References

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