Index of Species Information

SPECIES:  Athyrium filix-femina

Introductory

SPECIES: Athyrium filix-femina
AUTHORSHIP AND CITATION : Walkup, Crystal J. 1991. Athyrium filix-femina. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available: http://www.fs.fed.us/database/feis/ [].
ABBREVIATION : ATHFIL SYNONYMS : NO-ENTRY SCS PLANT CODE : ATFI COMMON NAMES : lady fern TAXONOMY : The currently accepted scientific name for lady fern is Athyrium filix-femina (L.) Roth. Recognized subspecies, varieties, and forms are as follows [12,39]: A. filix-femina ssp. angustum (Willd.) Clausen A. filix-femina ssp. asplenioides (Michx.) Hulten A. filix-femina var. cyclosorum (Ledeb.) Moore A. filix-femina var. michauxii (Spreng.) Farw. forma michauxii forma elatius (Link) Clute forma rubellum (Gilbert) Farw. forma laurentianum (Butters) Fern. LIFE FORM : Fern or Fern Ally FEDERAL LEGAL STATUS : No special status OTHER STATUS : NO-ENTRY

DISTRIBUTION AND OCCURRENCE

SPECIES: Athyrium filix-femina GENERAL DISTRIBUTION : Lady fern is a circumpolar species, occurring from Alaska to the Atlantic, south to California, Texas, and Florida [38].  The variety cyclosorum is found from Alaska south to California; variety michauxii occurs from Labrador and Newfoundland west to northern Saskatchewan and south to Pennsylvania, Ohio, Wisconsin, and Iowa [12]. ECOSYSTEMS :    FRES10  White - red - jack pine    FRES11  Spruce - fir    FRES15  Oak - hickory    FRES18  Maple - beech - birch    FRES19  Aspen - birch    FRES20  Douglas-fir    FRES21  Ponderosa pine    FRES22  Western white pine    FRES23  Fir - spruce    FRES24  Hemlock - Sitka spruce    FRES25  Larch    FRES27  Redwood    FRES28  Western hardwoods    FRES37  Mountain meadows STATES :      AL  AK  AZ  AR  CA  CO  CT  DE  FL  GA      ID  IL  IN  IA  KS  KY  LA  ME  MD  MA      MI  MN  MS  MO  MT  NH  NJ  NY  NC  ND      OH  OR  PA  RI  SC  SD  TN  TX  UT  VT      VA  WA  WV  WI  WY  BC  LB  MB  NB  NF      ON  PQ  SK BLM PHYSIOGRAPHIC REGIONS :     1  Northern Pacific Border     2  Cascade Mountains     3  Southern Pacific Border     4  Sierra Mountains     5  Columbia Plateau     8  Northern Rocky Mountains     9  Middle Rocky Mountains    11  Southern Rocky Mountains    12  Colorado Plateau    13  Rocky Mountain Piedmont    15  Black Hills Uplift KUCHLER PLANT ASSOCIATIONS :    K001  Spruce - cedar - hemlock forest    K002  Cedar - hemlock - Douglas-fir forest    K003  Silver fir - Douglas-fir forest    K004  Fir - hemlock forest    K006  Redwood forest    K007  Red fir forest    K012  Douglas-fir forest    K013  Cedar - hemlock - pine forest    K014  Grand fir - Douglas-fir forest    K015  Western spruce - fir forest    K017  Black Hills pine forest    K018  Pine - Douglas-fir forest    K020  Spruce - fir - Douglas-fir forest    K025  Alder - ash forest    K093  Great Lakes spruce - fir forest    K095  Great Lakes pine forest    K096  Northeastern spruce - fir forest    K102  Beech - maple forest    K104  Appalachian oak forest    K108  Northern hardwoods - spruce forest SAF COVER TYPES :      5  Balsam fir     12  Black spruce     16  Aspen     20  White pine - northern red oak - red maple     21  Eastern white pine     22  White pine - hemlock     23  Eastern hemlock     25  Sugar maple - beech - yellow birch     26  Sugar maple - basswood     31  Red spruce - sugar maple - beech     32  Red spruce     33  Red spruce - balsam fir     35  Paper birch - red spruce - balsam fir     37  Northern white cedar     52  White oak - black oak - northern red oak     53  White oak     55  Northern red oak     60  Beech - sugar maple    201  White spruce    202  White spruce - paper birch    204  Black spruce    205  Mountain hemlock    206  Engelmann spruce - subalpine fir    207  Red fir    212  Western larch    213  Grand fir    215  Western white pine    217  Aspen    221  Red alder    223  Sitka spruce    224  Western hemlock    225  Western hemlock - Sitka spruce    226  Coastal true fir - hemlock    227  Western redcedar - western hemlock    228  Western redcedar    229  Pacific Douglas-fir    230  Douglas-fir - western hemlock    232  Redwood    237  Interior ponderosa pine    243  Sierra Nevada mixed conifer    244  Pacific ponderosa pine - Douglas-fir    251  White spruce    252  Paper birch    253  Black spruce - white spruce    254  Black spruce - paper birch SRM (RANGELAND) COVER TYPES : NO-ENTRY HABITAT TYPES AND PLANT COMMUNITIES : Lady fern occurs as a dominant or subdominant in the following habitat type (hts), plant association (pas), riparian site type (rst), and community type (cts) classifications:      Area             Classification                    Authority n Wisconsin            forest hts               Kotar and others 1988 Washington: Mt         forest pas               Moir and others 1988   Rainier Natl Park c, e Montana           riparian veg, rst,       Boggs and others 1989                        cts, hts                  n Idaho                forest cts, hts          Cooper and others 1991 Alaska: Kenai          forest cts               Reynolds 1990   peninsula OR: Willamette Valley  forest cts               Thilenius 1968

MANAGEMENT CONSIDERATIONS

SPECIES: Athyrium filix-femina
IMPORTANCE TO LIVESTOCK AND WILDLIFE : The fronds of lady fern provide a food source for grizzly bears [5,19,30].  Roosevelt elk consume lady fern in the fall on the Olympic Peninsula, but it is not a major food species [32].  It is listed as fair elk and deer food in the Olympic National Forest of Washington [14].  Lady fern contains filicic acid and therefore may be poisonous to some classes of livestock [14,28]. PALATABILITY : NO-ENTRY NUTRITIONAL VALUE : NO-ENTRY COVER VALUE : NO-ENTRY VALUE FOR REHABILITATION OF DISTURBED SITES : NO-ENTRY OTHER USES AND VALUES : NO-ENTRY OTHER MANAGEMENT CONSIDERATIONS : Silvicultural treatments have had variable effects on lady fern.  In western Montana lady fern was absent from logged redcedar (Thuja plicata) sites, but in black spruce (Picea mariana) clearcuts in Ontario, Canada, lady fern was present only on the logged sites [8]. Lady fern is a major competing species in boreal and sub-boreal spruce (Picea spp.) forests.  Scarification decreases presence and height of lady fern, thereby benefiting tree regeneration [7]. Lady fern may indicate high mass wasting potential when found growing vigorously or in significant numbers (coverage of 10 percent or more). Its absence, however, does not imply slope stability [27].

BOTANICAL AND ECOLOGICAL CHARACTERISTICS

SPECIES: Athyrium filix-femina
GENERAL BOTANICAL CHARACTERISTICS : Lady fern is an introduced deciduous perennial fern.  Tufted, erect fronds may grow to 6.6 feet (2 m).  They spread vegetatively from stout, chaffy rhizomes.  Lady fern is often confused with wood fern (Dryopteris carthusiana) but can be readily distinguished by its elongate, sometimes curved (rather than round) sori, which are covered by an indusium attached on one side [12]. RAUNKIAER LIFE FORM :    Undisturbed State:  Cryptophyte (geophyte)    Burned or Clipped State:  Cryptophyte (geophyte) REGENERATION PROCESSES : Lady fern reproduces by rhizomes and spores.  Following the eruption of Mount St. Helens, lady fern sprouted from axillary buds of transported rhizomes [1]. SITE CHARACTERISTICS : Lady fern is found growing in meadows, open thickets, moist woods, and occasionally in swamps [12].  In West Virginia it occurred in marshy areas where water stood 2 to 4 inches deep (5.0 to 10.2 cm), even in the dry season [9].  It commonly grows in the understory of western redcedar, western hemlock (Tsuga heterophylla), Douglas-fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii), white spruce (Picea glauca), and black spruce [4].  It may reach 50 to 100 percent cover under some redcedar stands where seepage maintains high soil moisture [36]. Elevations at which lady fern occurs vary by geographic location as follows: Location          Elevation                Arizona           7,000 to 9,000 feet (2,134-2,743 m) [21] California        4,000 to 9,500 feet (1,219-2,896 m) [26]  Idaho             4,100 to 4,300 feet (1,250-1,311 m) [34]  Utah              7,400 to 10,500 feet (2,250-3,200 m) [38] Vermont           1,600 to 2,200 feet (480-670 m) [33]    West Virginia     1,100 to feet (334 m) [9] British Columbia  2,950 feet (900) [7]   Ontario           1,000 feet (305 m) [7]             SUCCESSIONAL STATUS : Lady fern can colonize cracks in rocks and crevices between rocks, making it a true pioneer species.  More frequently it occurs as a dominant on perennially wet soil with other herbs.  It can survive severe battering if roots are protected and in constant contact with water [10]. Lady fern is not a pioneer species in Sitka spruce floodplains on the west coast of Vancouver Island, British Columbia.  It appears initially in the young seral stage under the cover of red alder (Alnus rubra), and increases in cover value from the young seral to the mature climax stage.  It is a dominant herb in these mature climax floodplain forests dominated by Sitka spruce and western hemlock [11].  In Sitka spruce-western hemlock forests of southeast Alaska, lady fern, along with spreading woodfern (Dryopteris austriaca) and bunchberry (Cornus canadensis), tends to dominate in the early stages of succession (1 to 25 years after logging) on moist microsites where tree and shrub regeneration is sparse [2].  In Glacier National Park, Montana, lady fern is characteristically restricted to climax cedar-hemlock forests [18]. SEASONAL DEVELOPMENT : Lady fern fronds began dropping in early October in Oregon, apparently as a result of frost.  Usually all fronds have dropped by November [10].

FIRE ECOLOGY

SPECIES: Athyrium filix-femina
FIRE ECOLOGY OR ADAPTATIONS : Lady fern often occurs on wet sites that burn infrequently.  The redcedar/lady fern habitat type is characterized by infrequent (> 200 years), low-intensity fires [3]. Lady fern sprouts from surviving rhizomes following fire. POSTFIRE REGENERATION STRATEGY :    survivor species; on-site surviving rhizomes

FIRE EFFECTS

SPECIES: Athyrium filix-femina
IMMEDIATE FIRE EFFECT ON PLANT : Lady fern is top-killed by fire. DISCUSSION AND QUALIFICATION OF FIRE EFFECT : NO-ENTRY PLANT RESPONSE TO FIRE : Fire decreases lady fern cover and frequency on drier sites, but sprouting is likely on subhygric sites [20].  Lady fern did not survive a moderate severity fire in mature western red cedar and western hemlock stands in northern Idaho[34]. DISCUSSION AND QUALIFICATION OF PLANT RESPONSE : The Research Papers (Hamilton 2006a, Hamilton 2006b) and Research Project Summary of Hamilton's studies provide information on prescribed fire and postfire response of many plant species, including lady fern, that was not available when this species review was originally written. FIRE MANAGEMENT CONSIDERATIONS : NO-ENTRY

REFERENCES

SPECIES: Athyrium filix-femina
REFERENCES :  1.  Adams, A. B.; Dale, V. H.; Smith, E. P.; Kruckeberg, A. R. 1987. Plant        survival, growth form and regeneration following the 18 May 1980        eruption of Mount St. Helens, Washington. Northwest Science. 61(3):        160-170.  [6886]  2.  Alaback, Paul B. 1984. Plant succession following logging in the Sitka        spruce-western hemlock forests of southeast Alaska. Gen. Tech. Rep.        PNW-173. Portland, OR: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service,        Pacific Northwest Forest and Range Experiment Station. 26 p.  [7849]  3.  Arno, Stephen F.; Davis, Dan H. 1980. Fire history of western        redcedar/hemlock forests in northern Idaho. In: Stokes, Marvin A.;        Dieterich, John H., technical coordinators. Proceedings of the fire        history workshop; 1980 October 20-24; Tucson, AZ. Gen. Tech. Rep. RM-81.        Fort Collins, CO: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky        Mountain Forest and Range Experiment Station: 21-26.  [12809]  4.  Bailey, Arthur Wesley. 1966. Forest associations and secondary        succession in the southern Oregon Coast Range. Corvallis, OR: Oregon        State University. 166 p. Thesis.  [5786]  5.  Banner, Allen; Pojar, Jim; Trowbridge, Rick; Hamilton, Anthony. 1986.        Grizzly bear habitat in the Kimsquit River Valley, coastal British        Columbia: classification, description, and mapping. In: Contreras, Glen        P.; Evans, Keith E., compilers. Proceedings--grizzly bear habitat        symposium; 1985 April 30 - May 2; Missoula, MT. Gen. Tech. Rep. INT-207.        Ogden, UT: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Intermountain        Research Station: 36-49.  [10810]  6.  Boggs, Keith; Hansen, Paul; Pfister, Robert; Joy, John. 1990.        Classification and management of riparian and wetland sites in        northwestern Montana. Missoula, MT: University of Montana, School of        Forestry, Montana Forest and Conservation Experiment Station, Montana        Riparian Association. 217 p. Draft Version 1.  [8447]  7.  Brand, David G. 1991. The establishment of boreal and sub-boreal conifer        plantations: an integrated analysis of environmental conditions and        seedling growth. Forest Science. 37(1): 68-100.  [14408]  8.  Brumelis, G.; Carleton, T. J. 1989. The vegetation of post-logged black        spruce lowlands in central Canada. II. Understory vegetation. Journal of        Applied Ecology. 26: 321-339.  [7864]  9.  Bush, Eleanor M. 1988. 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Ogden, UT: U.S. Department of Agriculture,        Forest Service, Intermountain Research Station: 23-35.  [8319] 17.  Garrison, George A.; Bjugstad, Ardell J.; Duncan, Don A.; [and others].        1977. Vegetation and environmental features of forest and range        ecosystems. Agric. Handb. 475. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of        Agriculture, Forest Service. 68 p.  [998] 18.  Habeck, James R. 1968. Forest succession in the Glacier Park        cedar-hemlock forests. Ecology. 49(5): 872-880.  [6479] 19.  Hamilton, Anthony; Archibald, W. Ralph. 1986. Grizzly bear habitat in        the Kimsquit River Valley, coastal British Columbia: evaluation. In:        Contreras, Glen P.; Evans, Keith E., compilers. Proceedings-grizzly bear        habitat symposium; 1985 April 30 - May 2; Missoula, MT. Gen. Tech. Rep.        INT-207. Ogden, UT: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service,        Intermountain Research Station: 50-56.  [10811] 20.  Hawkes, B. C.; Feller, M. 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Early vegetal succession        following large northern Rocky Mountain wildfires. In: Proceedings, Tall        Timbers fire ecology conference and Intermountain Fire Research Council        fire and land management symposium; 1974 October 8-10; Missoula, MT. No.        14. Tallahassee, FL: Tall Timbers Research Station: 355-373.  [1496] 25.  Moir, W. H.; Hobson, F. D.; Hemstrom, M.; Franklin, J. F. 1979. Forest        ecosystems of Mount Rainier National Park. In: Linn, Robert M., ed.        Proceedings, 1st conference on scientific research in the National        Parks: Vol I; 1976 Nov. 9-12; New Orleans, LA. National Park Service        Transactions and Proceedings Series No. 5. Washington, DC: U.S.        Department of the Interior, National Park Service: 201-207.  [1674] 26.  Munz, Philip A. 1973. A California flora and supplement. Berkeley, CA:        University of California Press. 1905 p.  [6155] 27.  Pole, Michael W.; Satterlund, Donald R. 1978. 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