Male-fern - Dryopteris filix-mas

Alternative names
Male Fern

Has a short, stout, erect rhizome shaggy with old frond bases and pale brown scales. It normally bears a single crown of soft dark green fronds, 15 to 150 cm long. This fern is 1- to 2-pinnate. The pinnules have rounded tips and are serrated all round. The sori underneath the pinnules are round and normally run in two parallel rows.

Similar Species

Sca\y Male-fern (D. affinis)

Identification difficulty
ID guidance

Pale brown or greyish scales on stem (rhachis); no dark blotch at base of pinna underside.


Woods, hedgebanks, ditch sides, etc.

When to see it

July August

Life History


UK Status

Common throughout Britain.

VC55 Status

Common in Leicestershire and Rutland. In the 1979 Flora survey of Leicestershire it was found in 343 of the 617 tetrads.

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Leicestershire & Rutland Map


Yellow squares = NBN records (all known data)
Coloured circles = NatureSpot records: 2020+ | 2015-2019 | pre-2015

UK Map