Bulblet Bladder Fern or just Bulblet Fern, Cystopteris bulbifera
Cystopteridaceae or Bladder Fern Family
Some authors put Cystopteris in the Woodsiaceae, the Cliff Fern Family, or the Dryopteridaceae, the Wood Fern Family

Medium-sized fern with elongatefronds up to 2 to 3 ft long. Each leaf (frond) made of paired leaflets that are not quite opposit each other. Each leaflet is lobed or divide into subleaflets bottom row, right), which are, in turn, lobed. Leaf veins reach all the way to the leaf edges (middle row, left). Spores are born in structures called sori on the underside of the leaflets. These are white early on (bottom row, left), but darken and open up when the spores mature, as below. This species is unusually in also bearing bulblets on the undersides of the leaves, either on the central stalk (the rachis), as at right, or on the leaflets, as in middle row, center. Bulblets are shown in closeup in the middle row, right. These bulblets readily fall off and can grow into new ferns genetically identical to the fern that produced them.

A fern of limestone rocks, native to much of the eastern US and Canada where limestone is common, as well as similar limestone areas of the southwest US. Rare in Wildwood, growing in rocky sections of the banks of Connelly's Run.

This species is easily identified from most other ferns by the bulblets, which are unusual among ferns. The rare species Tennessee Bladder Fern (Cystopteris tennesseensis), created by the hybridization of C. bulbifera and C. protrusa, is very similar, but has few bulblets and they are usually brown and misshapen. It is known in Virginia only from Montgomery and Pulaski Counties, so it could occur in Wildwood.

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