The moth genus Dryopteris is now considered a junior synonym of Oreta.

Dryopteris /drˈɒptərɪs/,[2] commonly called the wood ferns, male ferns (referring in particular to Dryopteris filix-mas), or buckler ferns, is a fern genus in the family Dryopteridaceae, subfamily Dryopteridoideae, according to the Pteridophyte Phylogeny Group classification of 2016 (PPG I).[3] There are about 300-400 species in the genus.[1][3][4][5] The species are distributed in Asia, the Americas, Europe, Africa, and the Pacific islands, with the highest diversity in eastern Asia.[5][6] It is placed in the family Dryopteridaceae, subfamily Dryopteridoideae, according to the Pteridophyte Phylogeny Group classification of 2016 (PPG I).[3] Many of the species have stout, slowly creeping rootstocks that form a crown, with a vase-like ring of fronds. The sori are round, with a peltate indusium. The stipes have prominent scales.

Dryopteris filix mas nf.jpg
Male fern (Dryopteris filix-mas)
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Tracheophytes
Class: Polypodiopsida
Order: Polypodiales
Suborder: Polypodiineae
Family: Dryopteridaceae
Subfamily: Dryopteridoideae
Genus: Dryopteris

See text

Hybridization and polyploidy are well-known phenomena in this group, with many species formed via these processes. The North American Dryopteris hybrid complex is a well-known example of speciation via allopolyploid hybridization.[7]

Selected speciesEdit

The genus has a large number of species. The PPG I classification suggested there were about 400 species;[3] as of February 2020, the Checklist of Ferns and Lycophytes of the World listed 328 species and 83 hybrids.[1] Some genera sunk into Dryopteris, such as Dryopsis, Stenolepia and Nothoperanema, are distinguished by other sources.[1]


Dryopteris species are used as food plants by the larvae of some Lepidoptera species including Batrachedra sophroniella (which feeds exclusively on D. cyatheoides) and Sthenopiseauratus.

Cultivation and usesEdit

Many Dryopteris species are widely used as garden ornamental plants, especially D. affinis, D. erythrosora, and D. filix-mas, with numerous cultivars.

Dryopteris filix-mas was throughout much of recent human history widely used as a vermifuge, and was the only fern listed in the U.S. Pharmacopoeia. Traditional use in Scandinavia against red mite (Dermanyssus gallinae) infestation is to place fronds in nesting boxes under nesting material and under floor covering material.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b c d Hassler, Michael & Schmitt, Bernd (January 2020). "Dryopteris". Checklist of Ferns and Lycophytes of the World. 8.20. Retrieved 2020-02-02.
  2. ^ Sunset Western Garden Book, 1995:606–607
  3. ^ a b c d PPG I (2016). "A community-derived classification for extant lycophytes and ferns". Journal of Systematics and Evolution. 54 (6): 563–603. doi:10.1111/jse.12229.
  4. ^ Zhang, Li-Bing; Zhang, Liang; Dong, Shi-Yong; Sessa, Emily B; Gao, Xin-Fen; Ebihara, Atsushi (2012). "Molecular circumscription and major evolutionary lineages of the fern genus Dryopteris (Dryopteridaceae)". BMC Evolutionary Biology. 12 (1): 180. doi:10.1186/1471-2148-12-180. ISSN 1471-2148. PMC 3483261. PMID 22971160.
  5. ^ a b Sessa, Emily B.; Zhang, Li-Bing; Väre, Henry; Juslén, Aino (2015-08-01). "What We Do (and Don't) Know About Ferns: Dryopteris (Dryopteridaceae) as a Case Study". Systematic Botany. 40 (2): 387–399. doi:10.1600/036364415X688844.
  6. ^ Sessa, Emily B.; Juslén, Aino; Väre, Henry; Chambers, Sally M. (March 2017). "Into Africa: Molecular phylogenetics and historical biogeography of sub-Saharan African woodferns ( Dryopteris )". American Journal of Botany. 104 (3): 477–486. doi:10.3732/ajb.1600392. ISSN 0002-9122.
  7. ^ Sessa, Emily B; Zimmer, Elizabeth A; Givnish, Thomas J (2012). "Unraveling reticulate evolution in North American Dryopteris (Dryopteridaceae)". BMC Evolutionary Biology. 12 (1): 104. doi:10.1186/1471-2148-12-104. ISSN 1471-2148. PMC 3509404. PMID 22748145.

External linksEdit