Ferns and Mosses of Acadiana Park

Japanese Climbing Fern - Lygodium japonicum

This non-native fern grows abundantly in our area and is Louisiana's only climbing fern. The leaves are some of the longest in the world since each vining segment is actually considered one leaf. It produces two kinds of leaflets that are noticeably different in shape making a beautifully intricate plant.

Family Equisetaceae

Horse-tail Rush or Scouring Rush - Equisetum hyemale

(Human Introduced) An unusual plant that looks like a leafless upright stem at first, although there are actually small hair-like leaves at the nodes. Can grow up to six feet tall with a base of only an inch.

 Family Ophioglossaceae

Sparse-Lobed Grape Fern - Botrychium biternatum

Grape Ferns have small triangular blades usually divided into three sections. It looks similar to cilantro. Grows in dry, sandy areas. Found most often in spring.

 Family Polypodiaceae

Asian Holly-Fern - Crytomium falcatum

Exotic. Recognized by the pointed tips of its pinnae. A popular garden fern that escaped into the wild and is now occasionally found in the prairie terrace area of Acadiana Nature Park.

Resurrection Fern - Polypodium polypodioides

Most frequently seen growing on live oaks branches. Called "resurrection fern" because this fern shrivels up during a drought and appears dead, but dramatically changes to a fresh green after a rain. The scientific name of this fern is memorable since the family, genus, and species name all mean "many feet." American Indians would heat the plant and make a soothing ointment, or make a tea to treat headaches, dizziness, or mouth problems.

Ebony spleenwort - Asplenium platyneuron

The last of the three native spleenworts to survive in Louisiana. It is easily distinguished from other ferns by its dark support structure of petioles and rachis, hence the name "ebony" spleenwort. Found in the prairie terrace and escarpment areas of Acadiana Nature Park.

 Family Selaginellaceae

Meadow spikemoss - Selaginella apoda

Of the 5 Spikemosses found in Louisiana, Meadow Spikemoss is the most common. Like other spikemosses, its leaves are very tiny and overlap. Meadow spikemoss grows in moist, shady places, like stream banks.

 Family Schizaeaceae


 Family Thelypteridaceae

Southern shield fern - Thelypteris kunthii

This fern is prolific throughout Louisiana woodlands and may volunteer in gardens as well. Its pinnae are divided into smaller segments in a feather-like pattern, so botanists call it "1-pinnate pinnatifid."

Torres' fern - Macrothelypteris torresiana

Exotic. Growing in moist, shaded areas, the Torres' fern has large triangular pinnae divided into smaller and smaller segments so it is considered "2-pinnae pinnatifid." White hairs grow on the lower surface of the blades. It is easily overlooked since it grows amongst the Southern shield ferns on the escarpment.

 Family Woodsiaceae

Sensitive fern - Onoclea sensibilis

Deep lobes that appear to be individual pinnae at first are actually not divided all the way to the midrib. Called "sensitive fern" because it is supposedly sensitive to frost or drought, but this is not really true. Grows in moist areas


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