Lady fern is a common and large fern species. Its 30-100 cm tall, light green leaves rise as bundles from its rhizome. The leaflets grow in an alternate arrangement on the stem. The oval sporangia are located under the leaflets and the spores ripen from June to July.
Lady fern prefers moist and rather shaded forests as its habitat. It occurs in herb-rich forests, along streams, ditches, waterfront forests and spruce mires. The species is distributed over broad areas in Eurasia and North America.
Lady fern is a popular ornamental plant in gardens and there are several cultivars bred from it. The fresh plant is poisonous but when cooked, its rhizomes and young shoots have been used as food during periods of austerity in Finland. The lady fern resembles some large buckler fern (Dryopteris) species.
As a common species lady fern requires no conservation measures to secure its occurrence.
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