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Ferns of the Sierra (1960) by Robert J. Rodin


WOODWARDIA
GIANT CHAIN FERN

Woodwardia fimbriata Sm. (Fig. 47 and cover)

W. chamissoi
W. radicans as given by Jepson is a mis-identification

Fronds from 3 to 6 or even 8 feet high, pinnae 4 to 18 inches long, broadly lanceolate in outline and pinnately cut almost to the midrib; segments minutely toothed, somewhat scalloped. Sori oblong-linear in cavities, in a chain on each side of the midvein of the segments. Indusium fixed by its outer margin and hinged to open and allow spores to be disseminated.

Indians in the Sierra are reported by Kroeber to have used the fibers from this fern dyed red with alder bark for basket and textile designs.

The largest and most magnificent of our ferns, the Giant Chain Fern, is widely distributed throughout California in the Coast Range and Sierra, although never considered common. It always occurs where there is constant seepage, such as Big Fern Creek, and several places along the Kaweah River in Sequoia National Park; along the Merced River, a few miles below El Portal, near Cascade Falls, and. across the footpath at Happy Isles, Yosemite. Known from British Columbia to California.

Hall reported a dwarf form from several points in Yosemite Valley. The author transplanted this form into the San Joaquin Valley 12 years ago and it now has fronds 3 feet long, which is considerably larger than the dwarf in Yosemite, but it has not grown to the size of the large form from the Sierra.

Fig. 47 GIANT CHAIN FERN (Woodwardia fimbriata)
[click to enlarge]

Fig. 47 GIANT CHAIN FERN (Woodwardia fimbriata). Upper: Portion of one deeply lobed pinna with its oblong sori. Lower: This largest of our native ferns must live in seepage areas, usually in partial shade.



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