Dryopteris filix-mas
Male fern
Image of Dryopteris filix-mas

Photo by Emmet J. Judziewicz 

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Key Characteristics

Medium-sized fern 30-120 cm; blades pinnately divided 2-3 times with relatively short petioles (less than 1/3 length of blade), base of petiole with both brown scales and scattered hairs.

Status and Rank

  • State Status: SC
  • State Rank: S3
  • Global Rank: G5


County NameNumber of OccurrencesYear Last Observed
Distribution map for Dryopteris filix-mas

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.


Occurring on rocky, sheltered sites (cliffs, sinkholes, ravines, crevices) in mixed northern hardwood forests in the northern Lower Peninsula and Upper Peninsula. It often occurs on limestone bedrock, but is not restricted to calcareous substrates.

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

Big-leaved aster, intermediate woodfern, choke cherry, and thimbleberry.


Probably sensitive to logging of overstory trees, which would expose it to intense sunlight and subsequent desiccation. Its rocky habitat could also be damaged by heavy pedestrian use.

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 25, 2018]


Survey References

Technical References

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