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SPECIES:  Woodwardia virginica
Virginia chainfern frond. Image by Robert H. Mohlenbrock. USDA SCS. 1991. Southern wetland flora: Field office guide to plant species. South National Technical Center, Fort Worth. Courtesy of USDA NRCS Wetland Science Institute.

 


Introductory

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: www.fs.fed.us/database/feis/plants/fern/woovir/all.html []. Revisions: On 4 April 2018, the common name of this species was changed in FEIS from: Virginia chain-fern to: Virginia chainfern. Images were also added.
ABBREVIATION : WOOVIR SYNONYMS : Anchistea virginica (L.) C. Presl NRCS PLANT CODE : WOVI COMMON NAMES : Virginia chainfern chainfern chain-fern giant chainfern TAXONOMY : The currently accepted scientific name for Virginia chainfern is Woodwardia virginica (L.) Smith. (Blechnaceae). There are no recognized subspecies, varieties, or forms. LIFE FORM : Fern FEDERAL LEGAL STATUS : No special status OTHER STATUS : NO-ENTRY

DISTRIBUTION AND OCCURRENCE

SPECIES: Woodwardia virginica
GENERAL DISTRIBUTION : Virginia chainfern 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].
Distribution of Virginia chainfern. Map courtesy of USDA, NRCS. 2018. The PLANTS Database. National Plant Data Team, Greensboro, NC [19] [2018, April 4].
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

MANAGEMENT CONSIDERATIONS

SPECIES: Woodwardia virginica
IMPORTANCE TO LIVESTOCK AND WILDLIFE : NO-ENTRY 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 : Combined logging and burning decreases Virginia chainfern density when compared to either treatment alone [8].

BOTANICAL AND ECOLOGICAL CHARACTERISTICS

SPECIES: Woodwardia virginica
GENERAL BOTANICAL CHARACTERISTICS : Virginia chainfern 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 chainfern is often mistaken for cinnamon fern (Osmunda cinnamomea), which grows in clusters from individual crowns rather than rhizomes [2,18]. RAUNKIAER LIFE FORM : Geophyte REGENERATION PROCESSES : Vegetative: Virginia chainfern has creeping rhizomes which fork, zigzag, and curve as they grow [16]. Sexual: Virginia chainferns 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 chainfern 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 chainfern decreases in composition [15]. Soils are generally acidic sands, clays, and peat. Virginia chainfern tolerates a lower degree of acidity than other species of Woodwardia [3,9,12]. Virginia chainfern 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 chainfern 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 chainfern 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].

FIRE ECOLOGY

SPECIES: Woodwardia virginica
FIRE ECOLOGY OR ADAPTATIONS : Virginia chainfern survives fire by sprouting from rhizomes [20]. 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 : survivor species; on-site surviving rhizomes

FIRE EFFECTS

SPECIES: Woodwardia virginica
IMMEDIATE FIRE EFFECT ON PLANT : Virginia chainfern is top-killed by fire. DISCUSSION AND QUALIFICATION OF FIRE EFFECT : NO-ENTRY PLANT RESPONSE TO FIRE : Virginia chainfern 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 chainferns may not survive these fires, but several herbaceous plants, including Virginia chainfern, 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. USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service. 2018. PLANTS Database, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Natural Resources Conservation Service (Producer). Available: https://plants.usda.gov/. [34262]
20. Whitehead, Donald R. 1972. Developmental and environmental history of the Dismal Swamp. Ecological Monographs. 42(3): 301-315. [15097]

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