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Dryopteris marginalis is known as the marginal shield fern or marginal wood fern. The marginal wood fern favors damp shady areas and is found throughout eastern North America. It favors moderately acid to circumneutral soils. It favors cooler areas, but is fairly drought-resistant once established. In the warmer parts of its range, it is most likely to be found on north-facing non-calcareous rock faces.
The evergreen leaves reach a maximum length of 1 - 2 ft, with a single crown on each rootstock. The round sori are located on the margins of the leaf tissue, hence the common name. Just before the spore ripens, the sori turn an interesting blue-violet color.
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