Found in moist, shaded woods, the Southern Lady Fern (Athyrium filix-femina) is, as its name indicates, one of the more “graceful” members of our flora. We found large clumps of this fern on a walk down the Mountain Goat Trail, and it is one of the plants to look forward to if you join us on the walk this Saturday.
This fern grows in large clumps, and has a distinct arrangement of spores on the underside of the leaves. As you can see in the above image, the sori (spore packets) are kidney-shaped and arranged in what looks a lot like a herring-bone pattern. The fern also often has reddish petioles, or stems, as can be seen in the image below.