Woodsia manchuriensis

Manchurian woodsia

Epithet means "from Manchuria."

Deciduous, 4 to 15 in. (10 to 38 cm). Zones 4 to 8.

description: The rhizome is erect. Russet stipes are not jointed and are very short, usually under 2 in. (5 cm). They are scaly at their base with few to no hairs or scales elsewhere. Lanceolate, pinnate-pinnatifid (and seriously close to bipin-nate) blades are a pale chalky green on their undersides and bear 15 to 25 pairs of pinnae with the lowermost reduced to widely spaced stubs. sori are close to the margins and are wrapped in a three-parted indusium.

range and habitat: Unlike many woodsias, this species prefers shade but upholds the Woodsia tradition of congregating in a cold rocky situ from Japan, China, and Korea to (of course) Manchuria.

culture and comments: Though not often available commercially in the United States, Woodsia manchuriensis should be introduced with ease into the shady side of the rock garden or the foreground of the woodlands.

Woodsia obtusa Blunt-lobed woodsia Epithet means "blunt, rounded."

Deciduous (sterile fronds may be wintergreen), 6 to 16 in. (15 to 40 cm). Zones 3 to 8.

description: The rhizomes are erect as are the fronds. Tawny stipes are not jointed and are one-third of the frond. Bipinnate to bipinnate-pinnatifid blades are elliptic with whitish glands and hairs on both surfaces. There are 8 to 15 pairs of pinnae. sori are midway between the margins and midribs and enclosed in a four-parted indusium.

range and habitat: Noted for its upright habit, Woodsia obtusa is equally at home as a vertical sentinel in mortared walls as in acidic rock ledges along the East coast of North America from Canada to South Carolina extending westward to Oklahoma in the south and Wisconsin in the north.

culture and comments: While this species will never make a dramatic statement in the garden design, it is a dependable addition especially in the small-scaled, cold-temperate landscapes that would be overwhelmed by the towering presence of a 4-ft. (1.2-m) Dryopteris.

Woodsia oregana Western cliff fern

Epithet means "from Oregon."

Deciduous, 8 to 12 in. (20 to 30 cm). Zones 4 to 8.

description: The rhizome is erect. Reddish-brown stipes are darkest at their base, pliable, not jointed, and one-third to one-half of the frond length. Bipinnate blades are lanceolate with 8 to 10 pairs of pinnae. They can be naked to sparsely glandular and lack hairs along the midribs, testing the skills of the observer. sori surrounded by threadlike filaments are medial between the midrib and margin.

range and habitat: While primarily a western U.S. species, populations of Woodsia oregana, or subspecies thereof, are reported from a disparate assortment of eastern and southwestern sites including the upper Midwest, New York, and Oklahoma. Limestone talus and screes are the common requirement.

culture and comments: Taxonomic surroundings for this species are a work in progress, which by implication means there will be some revisions sooner or later. At present it is dis

Woodsia obtusa on the face of a stone wall in New Jersey.

Woodsia obtusa on the face of a stone wall in New Jersey.

tinguished from its fellow native, Woodsia scopulina (with difficulty), based on its lack of hairs on the midrib, a dull rather than shiny chestnut stipe, and pliable rather than brittle stipes. Meanwhile, garden attempts are short-lived. The species is offered here as an alpine to admire while on the trail. Plants should not be collected.

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