Onoclea sensibilis is a common and distinctive fern in
Wisconsin. The bright yellow-green sterile fronds are pinnatifid
and tend to be borne at intervals along a rhizome. Therefore they
do not form conspicuous clumps as many of our other soil-dwelling
ferns do. The modified pinnae of the fertile
fronds roll up to form bead-like structures that are very
distinctive. The fertile fronds turn black or dark brown at maturity,
often persisting through the next winter, thereby allowing them
to be easily identified throughout the year.
O. sensibilis ranges from Newfoundland to Florida and
west to Texas, North Dakota and Manitoba. It is common throughout
Wisconsin in a wide variety of wet habitats, both sunny and shaded.