This fern is quite common."
This fern is one of two Pine Barren ferns that the fronds could be described as deeply lobed leaves. The leaf material is continuous between pinnae but diminusouses to 'wings' along the stalk between pinnae. The pinnae have wavy edges. The other fern with this similar characteristic is the Sensitive Fern.
This fern can be distinguished from the Sensitive Fern by two characteristics. On the Netted Chain Fern the pinnae are mostly alternate and on the Senstive Fern they are nearly opposite. For both these two ferns, the spores are born upon fronds that are different than the sterile fronds. The Netted Chain Fern bears its spores in oblong sori (spores cases) in chainlike rows on a frond with narrow pinnae. The other two have round spore capsules.
There are also two other twice cut ferns in the Pine Barrens but they have different growth habits and are easy to avoid confusing with the three ferns mentioned above. The Cinnamon Fern grows in a crown, a tight circle of fronds and the Bracken Fern has a single vertical stem which divides into three horizontal fronds.
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