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Key to Identifying Ferns of the Nature Center

1. Stipe divided into two or three branches Go to step 2

1. Stipe not divided into branches Go to step 4

2. Stipe divided into three branches, the bottom two are opposite each other. Blades triangular, twice cut

2. Stipe divided into two branches Go to step 3

3. Branches curving to form a horseshoe-like shape. Pinnae borne on the outer rims of the branches. Sori found on the underside of the leaflets

3. Branches form separate sterile and fertile stalks arising from the same juncture on the stipe. Sterile frond triangular, lacy. Fertile frond leafless, terminated by dense cluster of sporangia

4. Frond once-cut Go to step 5

4. Frond cut more than once Go to step 6

5. Leaves broadest at base

5. Leaves semi-tapering at base

6. Frond twice-cut Go to step 7

6. Frond thrice-cut Go to step 12

7. Overall height between 1 and 2 feet Go to step 14

7. Overall height over 2 feet, up to 6 feet Go to step 8

8. Leaves fully tapering to base. Frond up to 6 feet

8. Leaves seim-tapering to base Go to step 9

9. Stipe scaly

9. Stipe smooth or hairy Go to step 10

10. Dense tufts of wooly pubescence at base of leaflets

10. Dense tufts of wool lacking Go to step 11

11. Stipe smooth

11. Stipe finely hairy

12. Stipe light brown, course; with moderate to dense scales

12. Stipe greenish, reddish or dark brown. Smooth or with sparse scales Go to step 13

13. Stipe brittle, shiny, dark colored, more or less smooth. Leaflets slightly hairy underneath

13. Stipe green or reddish with sparse scales

14. Frond fully tapered to base; stipe smooth

14. Frond broadest at base. Stipe hairy; lowest pinnae pointing down

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