Dryopteris - Dryopteridaceae

Dryopteris affinis (Lowe) Fraser-Jenk






Nephrodium affine Lowe

Common name

Scaly male fern.


Rhizome erect, stout. Fronds 100 x 20 cm, deciduous, monomorphic, blade/stipe ratio: 4:1. Stipe grooved, golden-brown, dense, conspicuous scales with a dark base, petering out only after the fourth or fifth set of pinnae. Lamina 2-pinnate, lanceolate in outline, usually tapering towards the base, leathery, lustrous, yellow-green, scales continue on underside of costa. Pinnae 30 to 35 pairs, subopposite on rhachis, base with a dark blotch (diagnostic fresh, missing when dried); pinnules oblong, usually truncated at the apex, costae grooved above, segments oblong, margins somewhat crenate, veins free, forked. Sori round, in 1 row between midrib and margin; indusium doughnut-shaped, convex, steel-gray when young, aging to brown.



affinis: neighboring or akin to, perhaps referring to similarity to the male fern, D. filix-mas.


Woods and shady places, open areas among rocks.

Distribution worldwide

Europe to Caspian to North Africa.

Distribution in Africa

Morocco and Western Sahara.

Growth form



  • Roux, J.P. (2009) Synopsis of the Lycopodiophyta and Pteridophyta of Africa, Madagascar and neighbouring islands. Strelitzia 23, South African National Biodiversity Institute, Pretoria. Page 120.
  • Stuart, T. (2004-) Hardy Fern Library. Published on the internet: http://hardyfernlibrary.com/ferns/home.cfm. Page 0. (Includes a picture).