Latin: aemula, rivaling or imitating
Frond: 75 cm high by 15 cm wide, deciduous in colder areas, monomorphic, blade/stipe ratio: 1:1 to 2:1.
Stipe: grooved, dark purple-brown at base, shading to green near blade, scales scattered, narrowly lanceolate, pale brown, vascular bundles: 3-7 in a c-shaped pattern.
Blade: 3-pinnate-pinnatifid at base, triangular-ovate, the tips arching, sometimes with upturned tips, herbaceous to somewhat leathery, minute sessile, colorless glands, visible on the lower surface.
Pinnae: 10 to 20 pair, opposite, basal pair anadromous; costae grooved above, continuous from rachis to costae; segments those on the lowermost pinnae nearly pinnate; margins serrate, spiny, strongly upturned; veins free, forked.
Sori: round, in 1 row between midrib and margin, indusium: reniform, at a sinus, sporangia: brownish, maturity: late summer to early fall.
Dimensionality: drooping frond tips.
Habitat: moist, acidic, shady woods, banks.
Distribution: Atlantic Europe, Ireland to the Canaries, also the Caucasus, asiatic Turkey.
Hardy to -20°C, USDA Zone 6.
the habit with the arching fronds and upturned margins is highly distinctive; the glands on the lower surface separate it from other highly divided species of Dryopteris.
Aspidium aemulum (Aiton) Swartz
Allantodia aemula Desv.
Lastrea aemula Brackenr.
Lastrea foenisecii Watson
Nephrodium aemulum Bak.
Polypodium aemulum Aiton
Polystichum aemulum Presl