Index of Species Information

SPECIES:  Blechnum spicant


SPECIES: Blechnum spicant
AUTHORSHIP AND CITATION : Matthews, Robin F. 1993. Blechnum spicant. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available: [].

ABBREVIATION : BLESPI SYNONYMS : Lomaria spicant (L.) Desv. Struthiopteris spicant (L.) Weiss Osmunda spicant L. [7,22,31] SCS PLANT CODE : BLSP COMMON NAMES : deer fern hard fern TAXONOMY : The currently accepted scientific name of deer fern is Blechnum spicant (L.) Roth [7,21,22,31]. A typical subspecies and B. spicant ssp. nipponicum (Kunze) Love and Love are recognized [7,22]. LIFE FORM : Fern or Fern Ally FEDERAL LEGAL STATUS : See OTHER STATUS OTHER STATUS : The Heritage Program has classified deer fern as secure globally but imperiled in Idaho. The Forest Service and BLM list deer fern as sensitive in Idaho [30].


SPECIES: Blechnum spicant
GENERAL DISTRIBUTION : Deer fern has a sporadic circumpolar distribution. In North America it is distributed from coastal Alaska to California (Del Norte to Santa Cruz counties). Deer fern occurs mostly west of the Cascade Range but is also found in northern Idaho [7,15,21,31]. ECOSYSTEMS : FRES20 Douglas-fir FRES22 Western white pine FRES23 Fir - spruce FRES24 Hemlock - Sitka spruce FRES25 Larch FRES27 Redwood FRES28 Western hardwoods STATES : AK CA ID OR WA BC BLM PHYSIOGRAPHIC REGIONS : 1 Northern Pacific Border 2 Cascade Mountains 3 Southern Pacific Border 4 Sierra Mountains 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 K012 Douglas-fir forest K013 Cedar - hemlock - pine forest K014 Grand fir - Douglas-fir forest K015 Western spruce - fir forest K025 Alder - ash forest K029 California mixed evergreen forest SAF COVER TYPES : 201 White spruce 205 Mountain hemlock 206 Engelmann spruce - subalpine fir 212 Western larch 213 Grand fir 215 Western white pine 221 Red alder 222 Black cottonwood - willow 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 231 Port-Orford-cedar 232 Redwood 234 Douglas-fir - tanoak - Pacific madrone SRM (RANGELAND) COVER TYPES : NO-ENTRY HABITAT TYPES AND PLANT COMMUNITIES : Deer fern is an indicator of moist to wet forests from sea level to montane zones in southwestern Washington and western Oregon [15,28]. It is also an indicator of moist to wet, poor-nutrient to moderate-nutrient forests in British Columbia [24]. Deer fern is scattered to abundant, and occasionally dominant, in understories of old-growth forests on "water-receiving" sites [25]. Publications listing deer fern as a dominant or codominant understory component include the following: Natural vegetation of Oregon and Washington [12] Gradient structure of forest vegetation in the central Washington Cascades [8] Plant communities in the old-growth forests of north coastal Oregon [20] Forest associations of Little Lost Man Creek, Humboldt County, California: reference-level in the hierarchical structure of old-growth coastal redwood vegetation [27] Some species commonly associated with deer fern include Alaska-cedar (Chamaecyparis nootkatensis), noble fir (Abies procera), lodgepole pine (Pinus contorta), Alaska blueberry (Vaccinium alaskensis), red huckleberry (V. parviflorum), thimbleberry (Rubus parviflorus), salmonberry (R. spectabilis), devil's club (Oplopanax horridus), menziesia (Menziesia ferruginea), salal (Gaultheria shallon), Oregon oxalis (Oxalis oregana), bunchberry (Cornus canadensis), false lily-of-the-valley (Maianthemum dilatatum), twisted stalk (Streptopus spp.), threeleaf foamflower (Tiarella trifoliata), woodnymph (Moneses uniflora), pioneer violet (Viola glabrella), western swordfern (Polystichum munitum), ladyfern (Athyrium filix-femina), bracken fern (Pteridium aquilinum), oakfern (Gymnocarpium dryopteris), woodfern (Dryopteris spp.), stiff clubmoss (Lycopodium annotinum), and many species of mosses [1,6,17,20].


SPECIES: Blechnum spicant
IMPORTANCE TO LIVESTOCK AND WILDLIFE : Deer fern provides valuable forage for Columbian and Sitka back-tailed deer, white-tailed deer, mountain goat, bighorn sheep, Rocky Mountain elk, Roosevelt elk, moose, and caribou [2,5,16,23]. PALATABILITY : NO-ENTRY NUTRITIONAL VALUE : NO-ENTRY COVER VALUE : NO-ENTRY VALUE FOR REHABILITATION OF DISTURBED SITES : NO-ENTRY OTHER USES AND VALUES : Deer fern is easily propagated and is planted as an ornamental [15,21]. Deer fern roots were used for medicinal purposes by Native Americans [37]. OTHER MANAGEMENT CONSIDERATIONS : NO-ENTRY


SPECIES: Blechnum spicant
GENERAL BOTANICAL CHARACTERISTICS : Deer fern fronds are dimorphic. Sterile leaves are evergreen and are spreading or appressed to the ground. They are usually 4 to 16 inches (10-40 cm) long. Fertile leaves are fewer in number, deciduous, and much longer than the sterile leaves. Sporangia are confluent and parallel to the midrib. Deer fern has woody rhizomes [7,22,31]. RAUNKIAER LIFE FORM : Chamaephyte Geophyte REGENERATION PROCESSES : Deer fern reproduces from spores and by sprouting from rhizomes. SITE CHARACTERISTICS : Deer fern is found in moist to wet forests and generally on heavily shaded sites [21]. It is an indicator of hypermaritime to maritime subalpine boreal and summer-wet cool mesothermal climates. It is found on fresh to very moist nitrogen-poor soils and grows best on well-decomposed organic material and nutrient-rich soils produced from decaying wood. Deer fern is very sensitive to frost [25]. SUCCESSIONAL STATUS : Facultative Seral Species Deer fern is shade tolerant [25]. It is found in old-growth and climax western hemlock (Tsuga heterophylla)-Sitka spruce (Picea sitchensis) stands in southeast Alaska. Disturbance in these cool, wet forests is generally from windthrow or logging. After disturbance, deer fern forms dense clumps if tree regeneration is sparse, but declines in cover as the shrub layer develops (20-25 years after logging). After 50 to 60 years, ferns, including deer fern, begin to increase in abundance and cover and eventually dominate the understory [1]. Deer fern is found in old-growth and climax western hemlock, Sitka spruce, western redcedar (Thuja plicata), Douglas-fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii), and Pacific silver fir (Abies amabilis) forests throughout its range [11,12,13,18,19,33,36]. Along the west coast of Vancouver Island, British Columbia, deer fern may be present in young seral stands in floodplain succession. However, its cover increases in climax stages and it is typical of the rich climax forests of the region [6]. Deer fern was present on shaded sites within 6 years following logging in white spruce (Picea glauca) stands in British Columbia [9]. It was also present 5 years after clearcuts in Douglas-fir stands in Washington [29]. SEASONAL DEVELOPMENT : NO-ENTRY


SPECIES: Blechnum spicant
FIRE ECOLOGY OR ADAPTATIONS : Fire is infrequent in the cool, wet forests in which deer fern is found. Fire intervals are estimated to be several hundred years. When large-scale fires do occur, they are usually catastrophic [3]. Deer fern may colonize sites after small patch fires by spores or the spread of rhizomes from adjacent unburned areas. FIRE REGIMES: Find fire regime information for the plant communities in which this species may occur by entering the species name in the FEIS home page under "Find Fire Regimes". POSTFIRE REGENERATION STRATEGY : Rhizomatous herb, rhizome in soil Secondary colonizer - off-site seed


SPECIES: Blechnum spicant
IMMEDIATE FIRE EFFECT ON PLANT : Deer fern is probably top-killed by fire. Rhizomes may survive light surface fires. DISCUSSION AND QUALIFICATION OF FIRE EFFECT : NO-ENTRY PLANT RESPONSE TO FIRE : Information on the response of deer fern to fire is sparse. It was not destroyed by a March fire in a Scotch pine (Pinus sylvestris) stand in Great Britain, and survived by sprouting from rhizomes. It had a postfire frequency of 95 percent in the year of the fire and in the first two postfire years [35]. Frequent, light surface fires encourage redwood (Sequoia sempervirens)/deer fern forest associations in northern California [27]. Deer fern probably survives these low-severity fires by sprouting from surviving rhizomes. DISCUSSION AND QUALIFICATION OF PLANT RESPONSE : NO-ENTRY FIRE MANAGEMENT CONSIDERATIONS : NO-ENTRY


SPECIES: Blechnum spicant
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Floodplain succession on the west coast of Vancouver Island. Canadian Field-Naturalist. 99(1): 34-39. [8928] 7. Cody, William J.; Britton, Donald M. 1989. Ferns and fern allies of Canada. Ottawa, ON: Agriculture Canada, Research Branch. 430 p. [13078] 8. del Moral, Roger; Watson, Alan F. 1978. Gradient structure of forest vegetation in the central Washington Cascades. Vegetatio. 38(1): 29-48. [8800] 9. Eis, S. 1981. Effect of vegetative competition on regeneration of white spruce. Canadian Journal of Forest Research. 11: 1-8. [10104] 10. Eyre, F. H., ed. 1980. Forest cover types of the United States and Canada. Washington, DC: Society of American Foresters. 148 p. [905] 11. Fonda, R. W.; Bliss, L. C. 1969. Forest vegetation of the montane and subalpine zones, Olympic Mountains, Washington. Ecological Monographs. 39(3): 271-301. [12909] 12. Franklin, Jerry F.; Dyrness, C. T. 1973. Natural vegetation of Oregon and Washington. Gen. Tech. Rep. PNW-8. Portland, OR: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Forest and Range Experiment Station. 417 p. [961] 13. Franklin, Jerry F.; Moir, William H.; Hemstrom, Miles A.; [and others]. 1988. The forest communities of Mount Rainier National Park. Scientific Monograph Series No 19. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of the Interior, National Park Service. 194 p. [12393] 14. 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] 15. Halverson, Nancy M., compiler. 1986. Major indicator shrubs and herbs on National Forests of western Oregon and southwestern Washington. R6-TM-229. Portland, OR: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Region. 180 p. [3233] 16. Hanley, Thomas A.; Robbins, Charles T.; Spalinger, Donald E. 1989. Forest habitats and the nutritional ecology of Sitka black-tailed deer: a research synthesis with implications for forest management. Gen. Tech. Rep. PNW-GTR-230. Portland, OR: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Research Station. 52 p. [7509] 17. Harris, A. S. 1990. Picea sitchensis (Bong.) Carr. Sitka spruce. In: Burns, Russell M.; Honkala, Barbara H., technical coordinators. Silvics of North America. Volume 1. Conifers. Agric. Handb. 654. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service: 260-267. [13389] 18. Hemstrom, Miles A.; Emmingham, W. H.; Halverson, Nancy M.; [and others]. 1982. Plant association and management guide for the Pacific silver fir zone, Mt. Hood and Willamette National Forests. R6-Ecol 100-1982a. Portland, OR: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Region. 104 p. [5784] 19. Hemstrom, Miles A.; Logan, Sheila E. 1986. Plant association and management guide: Siuslaw National Forest. R6-Ecol 220-1986a. Portland, OR: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Region. 121 p. [10321] 20. Hines, William Wester. 1971. Plant communities in the old-growth forests of north coastal Oregon. Corvallis, OR: Oregon State University. 146 p. Thesis. [10399] 21. Hitchcock, C. Leo; Cronquist, Arthur. 1973. Flora of the Pacific Northwest. Seattle, WA: University of Washington Press. 730 p. [1168] 22. Hulten, Eric. 1968. Flora of Alaska and neighboring territories. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press. 1008 p. [13403] 23. Jenkins, Kurt J.; Starkey, Edward E. 1991. Food habits of Roosevelt elk. Rangelands. 13(6): 261-265. [17351] 24. Klinka, K.; Green, R. N.; Courtin, P. J.; Nuszdorfer, F. C. 1984. Site diagnosis, tree species selection, and slashburning guidelines for the Vancouver Forest Region, British Columbia. Land Management Report No. 25. Victoria, BC: Ministry of Forests, Information Services Branch. 180 p. [15448] 25. Klinka, K.; Krajina, V. J.; Ceska, A.; Scagel, A. M. 1989. Indicator plants of coastal British Columbia. Vancouver, BC: University of British Columbia Press. 288 p. [10703] 26. Kuchler, A. W. 1964. Manual to accompany the map of potential vegetation of the conterminous United States. Special Publication No. 36. New York: American Geographical Society. 77 p. [1384] 27. Lenihan, James M. 1990. Forest ass. of Little Lost Man Creek, Humboldt Co., CA: reference-level in the hierarchical structure of old-growth coastal redwood vegetation. Madrono. 37(2): 69-87. [10673] 28. Lesher, Robin D.; Henderson, Jan A. 1989. Indicator species of the Olympic National Forest. R6-ECOL-TP003-88. Portland, OR: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Region. 79 p. [15376] 29. Long, James N. 1977. Trends in plant species diversity associated with development in a series of Pseudotsuga menziesii/Gaultheria shallon stands. Northwest Science. 51(2): 119-130. [10152] 30. Moseley, Robert; Groves, Craig, compilers. 1990. Rare, threatened and endangered plants and animals of Idaho. Boise, ID: Idaho Department of Fish and Game, Nongame and Endangered Wildlife Program, Natural Heritage Section. 33 p. [19329] 31. Munz, Philip A. 1973. A California flora and supplement. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press. 1905 p. [6155] 32. Raunkiaer, C. 1934. The life forms of plants and statistical plant geography. Oxford: Clarendon Press. 632 p. [2843] 33. Sonnenfeld, Nancy L. 1987. A guide to the vegetative communities at the Valley of the Giants, Outstanding Natural Area, northwestern Oregon, USA. Arboricultural Journal. 11: 209-225. [7453] 34. Stickney, Peter F. 1989. Seral origin of species originating in northern Rocky Mountain forests. Unpublished draft on file at: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Intermountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory, Missoula, MT; RWU 4403 files. 7 p. [20090] 35. Sykes, J. M.; Horrill, A. D. 1981. Recovery of vegetation in a Caledonian pinewood after fire. Transactions of the Botanical Society of Edinburgh. 43(4): 317-325. [19768] 36. Topik, Christopher; Halverson, Nancy M.; Brockway, Dale G. 1986. Plant association and management guide for the western hemlock zone: Gifford Pichot National Forest. R6-ECOL-230A. Portland, OR: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Region. 132 p. [2351] 37. Turner, Nancy Chapman; Bell, Marcus A. M. 1973. The ethnobotany of the southern Kwakiutl Indians of British Columbia. Economic Botany. 27: 257-310. [21015] 38. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Soil Conservation Service. 1982. National list of scientific plant names. Vol. 1. List of plant names. SCS-TP-159. Washington, DC. 416 p. [11573]