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Woodwardia fimbriata

Woodwardia fimbriata Sm.

Giant Chainfern, Giant Chain Fern

Blechnaceae (Chain fern Family)

Synonym(s): Woodwardia chamissoi

USDA Symbol: wofi

USDA Native Status: L48 (N), CAN (N)

The plume-like fronds, several per crown, of this giant chain fern may attain 8 ft. in length. The bipinnate frond segments are coarse and large, lacking the delicacy of smaller ferns, but persisting in excellent condition until new fronds have uncoiled. The "chain" of worm-like sori on the underside of the frond give the plant its name.


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Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Herb , Fern
Leaf Retention: Evergreen
Leaf Complexity: Bipinnate
Size Notes: Fronds up to about 8 feet long.

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: Not Applicable
Bloom Notes: Not a flowering plant. Reproduces by spores.


USA: AZ , CA , NV , OR , WA
Canada: BC
Native Distribution: S. B.C. to s. CA, mostly near the coast; irregularly inland to AZ & s. NV
Native Habitat: Springy & boggy places; stream banks

Growing Conditions

Light Requirement: Part Shade
Soil Moisture: Moist
Soil Description: Moist soils.
Conditions Comments: Old fronds of chain fern should be cut off as new ones occur. Sporelings are produced rather freely in wet areas. These may be transplanted when young.


Description: Does well from spores.
Commercially Avail: yes

National Wetland Indicator Status

This information is derived from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers National Wetland Plant List, Version 3.1 (Lichvar, R.W. 2013. The National Wetland Plant List: 2013 wetland ratings. Phytoneuron 2013-49: 1-241). Click here for map of regions.

From the National Organizations Directory

According to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is on display at the following locations:

Santa Barbara Botanic Garden - Santa Barbara, CA

Web Reference

Webref 30 - Calflora (2018) Calflora
Webref 38 - Flora of North America (2019) Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, MO & Harvard University Herbaria, Cambridge, MA.
Webref 23 - Southwest Environmental Information Network (2009) SEINet - Arizona Chapter

Additional resources

USDA: Find Woodwardia fimbriata in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Woodwardia fimbriata in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Woodwardia fimbriata


Record Modified: 2023-06-12
Research By: TWC Staff

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