Dryopteris - Dryopteridaceae

Dryopteris filix-mas (L.) Schott






Aspidium filix-mas (L.) Sw. var. umbilicatum (Poir.) Kuhn
Polypodium filix-mas L.

Common name

Male fern.


Rhizome erect, stout, branching, covered with old stipe bases. Fronds 120 x 25 cm, deciduous, monomorphic, erect to somewhat arching, blade/stipe ratio: 2:1 to 3:1. Stipe grooved, straw-brown, scales pale brown. Lamina pinnate-pinnatifid, almost 2-pinnate, rarely more, ovate-lanceolate in outline, widest at the middle, herbaceous to somewhat leathery, mid green, scales thin out along the green rhachis. Pinnae 16 to 24 pairs, lanceolate in outline, straight to slightly curved upwards; basal pinnae ovate-lanceolate, much reduced. Pinnules basal pinnules ± same length as adjacent pinnules, basal lower pinnule and basal upper pinnule equal, fully attached to costa along the base; costae grooved above, continuous from rhachis to costae; margins toothed; veins free, forked. Sori round, in 1 row between midrib and margin, on the upper half of the frond; indusium kidney-shaped, pale green at first, then whitish, then leaden-gray, then rusty brown, then shriveling, at a sinus.



filix: fern; mas: male.


Distribution worldwide

Africa, North America, Europe, Asia.

Distribution in Africa

Algeria, 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 123.
  • Stuart, T. (2004-) Hardy Fern Library. Published on the internet: http://hardyfernlibrary.com/ferns/home.cfm. Page 0. (Includes a picture).