Home - Checklist of the Plants from the Crab Orchard National Wildlife Refuge


Asplenium pinnatifidum; Pinnatifid Spleenwort; Native; This species is an allotetraploid derived from hybridization between A. montanum and A. rhizophyllum. CCP lists this fern as rare.  Ulaszek reports it as rare in dry, shaded sandstone cliffs. Mohlenbrock (1974) says it grows abundantly in nearby Giant City State Park. Photos Phytoimages; USDA Plants

Asplenium platyneuron; Ebony Spleenwort; Native; Common in dry and moist woods. This is the only spleenwort in our area growing in woods away from sandstone cliffs and rocks.Photos Phytoimages; USDA Plants

Asplenium rhizophyllum; Walking Fern; Native; Locally common  on sandstone bluffs. Most easily found at Rocky Bluff. Photos Phytoimages; USDA Plants

Asplenium trichomanes; Maidenhair Spleenwort; Native; Photos Phytoimages; USDA Plants

Note: Asplenium hybridizes frequently. This genus requires careful examination. Mohlenbrock (2002) reports several hybrids for Williamson County, e.g.,  Graves’s Spleenwort (Asplenium X gravesii) and Shawnee Spleenwort (Asplenium X shawneense). These plants may well be present on the Refuge.


Azolla mexicana; Mosquito Fern; Native; Photos Phytoimages; USDA Plants


Athyrium filix-femina; Synonyms: Athyrium angustum, Athyrium asplenioides; Lady Fern; Native; According to Flora North America (Vol. 2, 1993), A. filix-femina comprises four varieties, two of which occur in southern Illinois: A. felix-femina var. angustum (Northern Lady Fern) and A. felix-femina var. asplenioides (Southern Lady Fern). The CCP lists both varieties as uncommon. Photos Phytoimages; USDA Plants

Cystopteris protrusa; Fragile Fern; Native; Common in every wooded area of the Refuge. Photos Phytoimages; USDA Plants

Cystopteris tennesseensis; Tennessee Fragile Fern; Native; Ulaszek (1988) reports it as rare in the  Devil's Kitchen Dam Research Natural Area. CCP lists it as rare.Photos Phytoimages; USDA Plants

Deparia acrostichoides; Synonym: Athyrium thelypteroides; Silvery Spleenwort; Native; Uncommon in mesic upland forests, according to Ulaszek and CCP.Photos Phytoimages; USDA Plants

Diplazium pycnocarpon; Synonym: Athyrium pycnocarpon; Glade Fern; Native; Uncommon in mesic upland forest. The plant occurs along Rocky Bluff Trail. Photos Phytoimages; USDA Plants

Dryopteris goldiana; Goldie’s Fern; Native; Uncommon on rocky slopes in mesic forests. Grows along Rocky Bluff Trail and in forests across road from Rocky Bluff.  Photos Phytoimages; USDA Plants

Dryopteris marginalis; Marginal Shield Fern; Native; Uncommon in rocky woods. Can be found in wooded slopes along northeast shore of Devils Kitchen Lake.  Photos Phytoimages; USDA Plants

Polystichum acrostichoides; Christmas Fern; Native; This is the most common fern on the Refuge. It is abundant in woods throughout.Photos Phytoimages; USDA Plants

Woodsia obtusa; Common Woodsia; Native; Occasional to common in sandstone glades and rocky upland forest. Present in woods along Rocky Bluff Trail. Photos Phytoimages; USDA Plants


Equisetum arvense; Common Horsetail; Native; Although Mohlenbrock (2002, 2014) believes this to be the most common horsetail in southern Illinois, JVK has yet to locate the plant in the Refuge. Ulaszek (1988) reports it to be locally common along streams. Photos Phytoimages; USDA Plants

Equisetum hyemale; Scouring Rush; Native; Locally common, especially along shores. Large numbers occur along Grassy Creek and the north shore of Devils Kitchen Lake.  Photos Phytoimages; USDA Plants


Isoetes melanopoda; Black Quillwort; Native; Uncommon. It can be found in wet areas along Harmony Trail and at the south end of Little Grassy Lake.  Photos Phytoimages; USDA Plants


Diphasiastrum digitatum; Synonym: Lycopodium complanatum; Ground Pine; Native; CCP lists this plant as uncommon, but it was not included in Ulaszek (1988). Jody Shimp recalls collecting this taxon (as Lycopodium digitatum during 1994-1996, however, extensive searching among conifers has thus far not yet yielded this taxon. Photos Phytoimages; USDA Plants


Onoclea sensibilis; Sensitive Fern; Native; Flora North America places this genus in Dryopteridaceae. Ulaszek (1988) and CCP consider the presence of this fern to be “occasional.” It is locally common in wet places. A large colony occurs along Grassy Creek, visible from Rocky Bluff trail.  Photos Phytoimages; USDA Plants


Botrychium dissectum; Synonym: Sceptridium dissectum; Grape Fern; Native; Two varieties occur on the Refuge: B. dissectum var. dissectum and B. dissectum var. obliquum where the latter is by far the most common, being found in woods throughout the refuge. Photos Phytoimages; USDA Plants

Botrychium virginianum; Synonym: Botrypus virginianus; Rattlesnake Fern; Native; The most common Botrychium on the Refuge. It occurs in wooded areas throughout. Photos Phytoimages; USDA Plants

Ophioglossum vulgatum; Common Adder’s-Tongue; Native; Occasional to rare in dry mesic and mesic upland forests, lowland thickets and pine plantations. This little fern is difficult to find due to its inconspicuousness. After July all traces of the plant appear to have disappeared. In mid-May, 2013, Chris Evans spotted it along the Rocky Bluff Trail, close to the first bridge. Photos Phytoimages; USDA Plants


Osmunda claytoniana; Interrupted Fern; Native; A very rare fern in our area. Ulaszek (1988) observed but did not collect this plant. It occurred on a moist sandstone cliff. Photos Phytoimages; USDA Plants


Pleopeltis polypodioides; Synonym: Polypodium polypodioides; Resurrection Fern; Native; CCP lists this plant as uncommon. While it grows on tree trunks and branches as well, Ulaszek records its presence only on shaded sandstone cliffs. During dry spells this fern will be hard to find, as it needs moisture for it to be “resurrected.”  Photos Phytoimages; USDA Plants

Polypodium virginianum; Common Polypody; Native; Locally common on shaded sandstone cliffs. Photos Phytoimages; USDA Plants


Adiantum pedatum; Maidenhair Fern; Native; This striking plant is locally common in shaded forests throughout the Refuge. Photos Phytoimages; USDA Plants


Phegopteris hexagonoptera; Synonym: Dryopteris hexagonoptera; Broad Beech Fern; Native; Not listed in CCP, this species occurs in upland forests. It is locally common along Rocky Bluff trail. Photos Phytoimages; USDA Plants