Index of Species Information

SPECIES:  Woodwardia virginica


SPECIES: Woodwardia virginica
AUTHORSHIP AND CITATION : Walkup, Crystal J. 1991. Woodwardia virginica. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available: [].

ABBREVIATION : WOOVIR SYNONYMS : NO-ENTRY SCS PLANT CODE : WOVI COMMON NAMES : Virginia chain-fern chain-fern chainfern giant chain-fern TAXONOMY : The currently accepted scientific name for Virginia chain-fern is Woodwardia virginica (L.) Smith. There are no recognized subspecies, varieties, or forms. LIFE FORM : Fern or Fern Ally FEDERAL LEGAL STATUS : No special status OTHER STATUS : NO-ENTRY


SPECIES: Woodwardia virginica
GENERAL DISTRIBUTION : Virginia chain-fern is found throughout the eastern United States from Ontario and Nova Scotia south to Florida and Louisiana, and reaches as far west as Michigan [18]. ECOSYSTEMS : FRES10 White - red - jack pine FRES11 Spruce - fir FRES12 Longleaf - slash pine FRES13 Loblolly - shortleaf pine FRES14 Oak - pine FRES16 Oak - gum - cypress FRES17 Elm - ash - cottonwood STATES : AL AR CT DE FL GA IL IN KY LA ME MD MA MI MS NH NJ NY NC OH PA RI SC TX VT VA NB NS ON PE PQ BLM PHYSIOGRAPHIC REGIONS : NO-ENTRY KUCHLER PLANT ASSOCIATIONS : K090 Live oak - sea oats K091 Cypress savanna K094 Conifer bog K095 Great Lakes pine forest K096 Northeastern spruce - fir forest K101 Elm - ash forest K110 Northeastern oak - pine forest K112 Southern mixed forest K113 Southern floodplain forest K114 Pocosin K116 Subtropical pine forest SAF COVER TYPES : 20 White pine - northern red oak - red maple 23 Eastern hemlock 31 Red spruce - sugar maple - beech 32 Red spruce 33 Red spruce - balsam fir 37 Northern white cedar 39 Black ash - American elm - red maple 62 Silver maple - sycamore 70 Longleaf pine 71 Longleaf pine - scrub oak 74 Cabbage palmetto 75 Shortleaf pine 76 Shortleaf pine - oak 79 Virginia pine 80 Loblolly pine - shortleaf pine 81 Loblolly pine 83 Longleaf pine - slash pine 84 Slash pine 101 Baldcypress 103 Water tupelo - swamp tupelo 104 Sweetbay - swamp tupelo - redbay 105 Tropical hardwoods 106 Mangrove 111 South Florida slash pine SRM (RANGELAND) COVER TYPES : NO-ENTRY HABITAT TYPES AND PLANT COMMUNITIES : NO-ENTRY


SPECIES: Woodwardia virginica


SPECIES: Woodwardia virginica
GENERAL BOTANICAL CHARACTERISTICS : Virginia chain-fern is a deciduous, perennial, upright fern with long, purple-brown stalks. Plants are tall with an average leaf length of 4.8 feet (1.5 m). Leaves grow in close masses from creeping rhizomes. Roots, other than rhizomes, occur as few, elongate, slender fibers. Virginia chain-fern is often mistaken for cinnamon fern (Osmunda cinnamomea), which grows in clusters from individual crowns rather than rhizomes [2,18]. RAUNKIAER LIFE FORM : Undisturbed State: Cryptophyte (geophyte) Burned or Clipped State: Cryptopyte (geophyte) REGENERATION PROCESSES : Vegetative: Virginia chain-fern has creeping rhizomes which fork, zigzag, and curve as they grow [16]. Sexual: Virginia chain-ferns produce spores which go through an asexual stage, followed by a sexual stage. Plants often remain sterile until a disturbance such as fire or beaver activity stimulates fertility. Exact factors for inducing fertility remain unknown [16]. SITE CHARACTERISTICS : Virginia chain-fern grows in low, wet areas. Though found in the open, it thrives in partial shade around the bases of trees or among cypress knees. It is commonly found in swamps, cypress ponds, marshes, low prairies, and adjacent hammocks [18]. Roots are usually found growing in water, often a foot or more deep [2]. However, as flooding depth increases Virginia chain-fern decreases in composition [15]. Soils are generally acidic sands, clays, and peat. Virginia chain-fern tolerates a lower degree of acidity than other species of Woodwardia [3,9,12]. Virginia chain-fern is especially prevalent in the Great Swamp and cranberry bogs of Rhode Island [4]. It is also one of the principal species of the open marsh "prairies" in the Okefenokee Swamp [5]. SUCCESSIONAL STATUS : In the New Jersey Pine Barrens, Virginia chain-fern occurs in the second stage of succession following cutting or burning of cedar swamps. It grows in the understory of alders (Alnus spp.) along with magnolias (Magnolia spp.). It is preceded by common cattail (Typha latifolia) and wool grass (Scirpus spp.) [10]. SEASONAL DEVELOPMENT : Virginia chain-fern fronds grow from the end of February to the end of October, when leaf drop occurs. Spores mature in summer and fall and are best collected from May to September for propagation [18].


SPECIES: Woodwardia virginica
FIRE ECOLOGY OR ADAPTATIONS : Virginia chain-fern survives fire by resprouting from rhizomes [20]. POSTFIRE REGENERATION STRATEGY : survivor species; on-site surviving rhizomes


SPECIES: Woodwardia virginica
IMMEDIATE FIRE EFFECT ON PLANT : Virginia chain-fern is top-killed by fire. DISCUSSION AND QUALIFICATION OF FIRE EFFECT : NO-ENTRY PLANT RESPONSE TO FIRE : Virginia chain-fern was found in recently burned areas of the Dismal Swamp, indicating rapid regeneration following fire [20]. In the Okefenokee Swamp, "prairies" result from severe fires which kill woody vegetation and burn away the upper part of the peat bed. Virginia chain-ferns may not survive these fires, but several herbaceous plants, including Virginia chain-fern, eventually invade the "prairies" [5]. DISCUSSION AND QUALIFICATION OF PLANT RESPONSE : NO-ENTRY FIRE MANAGEMENT CONSIDERATIONS : NO-ENTRY

References for species: Woodwardia virginica

1. Bernard, Stephen R.; Brown, Kenneth F. 1977. Distribution of mammals, reptiles, and amphibians by BLM physiographic regions and A.W. Kuchler's associations for the eleven western states. Tech. Note 301. Denver, CO: U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Land Management. 169 p. [434]
2. Cobb, Broughton. 1956. A field guide to the ferns. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company. 281 p. [21691]
3. Cody, W. J. 1963. Woodwardia in Canada. American Fern Journal. 52: 17-27. [15773]
4. Crandall, Dorothy L. 1965. County distribution of ferns and fern allies in Rhode Island. American Fern Journal. 55(3): 98-112. [15915]
5. Cypert, Eugene. 1973. Plant succession on burned areas in Okefenokee Swamp following the fires of 1954 and 1955. In: Proceedings, annual Tall Timbers fire ecology conference; 1972 June 8-9; Lubbock, TX. Number 12. Tallahassee, FL: Tall Timbers Research Station: 199-217. [8467]
6. Eyre, F. H., ed. 1980. Forest cover types of the United States and Canada. Washington, DC: Society of American Foresters. 148 p. [905]
7. 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]
8. Gunderson, Lance H. 1984. Regeneration of cypress in logged and burned strands at Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary, Florida. In: Ewel, Katherine Carter; Odum, Howard T., eds. Cypress swamps. Gainesville, FL: University of Florida Press: 349-357. [14857]
9. Hill, Royce H. 1971. Comparative habitat requirements for spore germination and prothallial growth of three ferns in southeastern Michigan. American Fern Journal. 61(4): 171-182. [15916]
10. Hollinshead, Martha H. 1938. Ferns of the New Jersey Pine Barrens. Torreya. 38: 63-66. [11623]
11. 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]
12. Lucansky, Terry W. 1981. Chain ferns of Florida. American Fern Journal. 71(4): 101-108. [15650]
13. Lyon, L. Jack; Stickney, Peter F. 1976. 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]
14. Magee, Dennis W. 1981. Freshwater wetlands: A guide to common indicator plants of the Northeast. Amherst, MA: University of Massachusetts Press. 245 p. [14824]
15. Monk, Carl D.; Brown, Timothy W. 1965. Ecological consideration of cypress heads in north-central Florida. The American Midland Naturalist. 74: 126-140. [10848]
16. Pittillo, J. Dan; Wagner, W. H., Jr.; Farrar, Donald R.; Leonard, S. W. 1975. New Pteridophyte records in the Highlands Biological Station area, southern Appalachians. Castanea. 40(4): 263-272. [14230]
17. Raunkiaer, C. 1934. The life forms of plants and statistical plant geography. Oxford: Clarendon Press. 632 p. [2843]
18. Small, John Kunkel. 1938. Ferns of the southeastern United States. 2d ed. New York: Hafner Publishing Co. 517 p. [15880]
19. 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]
20. Whitehead, Donald R. 1972. Developmental and environmental history of the Dismal Swamp. Ecological Monographs. 42(3): 301-315. [15097]