Flora of Northern Ireland
  • Athyrium filix-femina (L.) Roth - Lady Fern - Woodsiaceae
Athyrium filix-femina
© Paul Hackney
Athyrium filix-femina
(Map updated: March 2008)

Lady Fern is one of Northern Ireland's commonest fern species. It occurs in most woodland areas or in hedge banks and many other situations. It is about the same size as many other common fern species growing in the same sorts of places, such as Male Fern (Dryopteris filix-mas) or Broad Buckler-Fern (Dryopteris dilatatai), but has a more delicate appearance. The undersides of the leaf segments carry pale J-shaped sori (these are where the spores are produced) which are quite unlike those of any other Irish Fern.

It is a very variable species and numerous varieties have been taken into cultivation, some of which are extremely odd in appearance.

All names: Athyrium filix-femina (L.) Roth; Asplenium filix-femina (L.) Bernh.