Short-stalked fronds, softer and lighter-green than those of Hard Shield fern. Usually withering in winter. 30-120cm long. Lowest leaflets more/less same length as middle leaflets. Segments with short cylindrical stalks, tips with bristle-like point. The sori are circular, usually only in upper half of frond. Pale-brown scales.
Prefers well-drained sloping ground. Shady hedgebanks, woods, roadsides and sheltered streamsides. Frequent in most of Ireland except western areas.
Similar: Hard Shield-fern, Polystitchum aculeatum