Easily mistaken for : Male-Fern (Dryopteris filix-mas) and other Dryopteris species.
There are three sub-species:
- (Dryopteris affinis ssp. affinis) which is the most common and is found throughout the range and is also the least like Male-Fern (Dryopteris filix-mas)
- (Dryopteris affinis ssp. cambrensis) which has distinctly crowded pinnules, some with asymmetrical tips (apices). It has rather shiny leaves and reddish-golden scaly stems.
- (Dryopteris affinis ssp. pseudodisjuncta) (which can also resemble
Narrow Male-Fern (Dryopteris cambrensis but with paler scales)
- (Dryopteris affinis ssp. borreri) which has the closest likeness to Male-Fern (Dryopteris filix-mas)
Your Author knows not which sub-species this may represent, but ssp. affinis is the most common and your Author just tripped over this one. Differentiation between these four sub-species and their three hybrids with Male-Fern is best left to those with considerable more experience of identifying hundreds of Dryopteris Ferns than your Author.
Hybridizes with : Male-Fern (Dryopteris filix-mas) to produce
Dryopteris × complexa which occurs where the two parents meet. All three sub-species of Golden-scaled Male-fern hybridize with Male-Fern creating a profusion of species often clumped together by botanists as Dryopteris × complexa agg.
The whole identity of these sub-species and hybrids is in a state of flux at this time and no one can be really sure of the accuracy or even the actual existence of any sub-species of affinis, least of all your Author, so all the above photos are of the aggregate (agg.) of affinis. There are two sets shown, possibly belonging to differing sub-species/hybrids. The two sets are differentiated by the date of the photo and place it was found. Your Author wishes the reader luck should he wish to differentiate them into sub-species/hybrids.