Woodsia obtusa subsp. obtusa

Species Native to Missouri
Common Name: blunt-lobed woodsia 
Type: Fern
Family: Woodsiaceae
Native Range: North America
Zone: 4 to 8
Height: 1.00 to 1.50 feet
Spread: 2.00 to 2.50 feet
Bloom Time: Non-flowering
Bloom Description: Non-flowering
Sun: Part shade to full shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Medium
Tolerate: Rabbit, Heavy Shade


Best grown in medium moisture, well-drained, rocky or sandy soils in part shade to full shade. Prefers neural to slightly alkaline soils. Abhors wet, poorly drained soils.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Woodsia obtusa subsp. obtusa, commonly known as blunt-lobed cliff fern, is a deciduous, Missouri native fern which occurs on rocky bluffs, slopes, cliffs and ledges (often limestone formations) throughout the State. A small, somewhat airy, tufted fern which typically grows 6-9" tall (less frequently to 15") and features erect, pinnately divided, light green to gray-green fronds (each with 8-17 pairs of leaflets). Sori appear on the undersides of the leaflets and are covered by lobed indusia. The lowest pair of leaflets have blunt lobes, hence the common name.

Genus name honors English architect and botanical author Joseph Woods (1776-1864).

Specific epithet means blunt.


No serious insect or disease problems. Foliage may depreciate in hot summer weather.


This small fern of rocky ledges and cliffs is ideal for rock gardens. Also effective in shade gardens, woodland gardens or native plant gardens. May be difficult to find in commerce for purchase.