Thelypteris - Thelypteridaceae

Thelypteris palustris Schott






Acrostichum thelypteris L.
Polypodium thelypteris (L.) L.
Nephrodium thelypteris (L.) Strempel
Lastrea thelypteris (L.) Bory
Dryopteris thelypteris (L.) A.Gray

Common name

Marsh fern.


Rhizome long-creeping, branching, black behind a white tip, 2.5 mm diameter; rhizome scales cordate. Fronds 75 x 20 cm, deciduous, monomorphic, though sterile fronds are earlier, fertile narrower, taller, blade/stipe ratio: 1:1 to 3:1. Stipe straw-colored or darker, shading to green, a few scales near the base. Lamina pinnate-pinnatifid, lanceolate in outline, widely separated pinnae, tapering to the tip, widest below the middle, narrowing somewhat to the lowest pinna, membranous, pale green, short, whitish hairs, falling soon, and yellow glands. Pinnae 14 to 20 pair, lanceolate in outline, long tapering, less incised near the ends, 2 cm wide; costae grooved above, discontinuous with the rhachis; margins sterile pinnae entire to slightly toothed, margins fertile pinnae narrower, triangular, folded downward; veins free, once-forked. Sori round, midway between the margin than the costule, merging into each other; indusium small, irregular or somewhat reniform, shedding soon.



palustris : marshy or swampy, referring to the habitat of this species.


Swamps, bogs, and marshes, also along riverbanks and roadside ditches, and in wet woods.

Distribution worldwide

Europe and northern Africa, western and central Asia.

Distribution in Africa

Algeria, Morocco and Western Sahara, Sudan and South Sudan, Tunesia.

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 212.
  • Stuart, T. (2004-) Hardy Fern Library. Published on the internet: Page 0. (Includes a picture).