WOOD FERN

FAMILY: Dryopteridaceae | GENUS: DRYOPTERIS

TYPE
  • Vines / Ground Covers
  • Ferns
SUN EXPOSURE
  • Partial Shade
  • Full Shade
WATER
  • Regular Water

Plant Details

The more than 100 species in this genus are found in many parts of the world, though only a few are generally offered by garden centers. Use them in shade or woodland gardens, where their fronds contrast nicely with the bolder foliage of other perennials, especially such large-leafed plants as hosta and hydrangea. They prefer rich soil with adequate organic material and moisturebut as a rule they are rather forgiving, making them good choices for beginning gardeners. Some species tolerate drought and less-than-ideal soil. They are seldom bothered by deer or other pests.

scaly male fern

SPINULOSE WOOD FERN, TOOTHED WOOD FERN, SHIELD FERN

dryopteris afnis

  • Semievergreen.
  • Zones US, MS, LS; USDA 6-8.
  • Native to Europe and southwestern Asia.
  • To 35 feet high and wide.
  • Finely cut fronds are chartreuse green with light brown scales when they unfold, dark green later.
  • Cristata ('Cristata The King') is more compact, with 3 feet, arching fronds with crested tips.
  • Crispa Gracilis is an evergreen dwarf form to only 612 inches high and wide.

log fern

dryopteris carthusiana(Dryopteris spinulosa)

  • Evergreen.
  • Zones US, MS, LS; USDA 6-8.
  • A native of Europe, Asia, and North America.
  • Clumps reach 1 feet across.
  • Coarsely cut yellowish green fronds to 618 inches tall, half as wide, have shaggy black scales on frond stem and lower part of midrib.
  • Tolerates bog conditions.

dryopteris celsa

  • Semievergreen.
  • Zones US, MS, LS, CS; USDA 6-9.
  • Native to moist woods and bogs in eastern U.S.; often found growing on rotting logs in the wild, hence the common name.
  • Upright habit to 34 feet high, 12 feet wide.
  • Deeply cut, glossy, deep green fronds with darker stems and midribs.

broad buckler fern

dryopteris complexa 'Robust

  • Semievergreen.
  • Zones US, MS, LS, CS; USDA 6-9.
  • Sometimes sold as Dryopteris filix-mas 'Undulata Robusta', this hybrid has 3- to 4 feet-long, dark green fronds that are deeply divided, with undulating edges.
  • Vigorous and easy to grow.

dryopteris dilatata

  • Evergreen.
  • Zones US, MS, LS, CS; USDA 6-9.
  • Native to many areas in Northern and Southern Hemispheres.
  • Grows to 12 feet tall, possibly much taller; spreads a little wider than it is high.
  • Finely cut, dark green, widely spreading fronds.
  • Jimmy Dyce has blue-green, upright fronds.

autumn fern

dryopteris erythrosora

  • Evergreen.
  • Zones US, MS, LS, CS; USDA 6-9.
  • Native to China and Japan.
  • Erect growth in tuft to 2 feet tall, 1 feet wide.
  • One of the few ferns with seasonal color variation.
  • Expanding fronds in spring are an attractive blend of copper, pink, and yellow; they turn green in summer, then rusty brown in autumn.
  • Bright red spore cases are produced on leaf undersides in fall; they become a handsome winter feature.
  • Takes some drought.
  • Brilliance has especially bright coppery red new growth.

male fern

dryopteris lix-mas

  • Evergreen, sometimes becoming deciduous.
  • Zones US, MS, LS, CS; USDA 6-9.
  • Native to much of Northern Hemisphere.
  • Grows 25 feet tall and wide, with nely cut medium green fronds to 1 feet wide.
  • Linearis Polydactyla has very narrow leaf divisions with spreading, ngerlike tips.

goldie's wood fern, giant wood fern

dryopteris goldiana

  • Evergreen in milder climates, deciduous in colder-winter areas.
  • Zones US, MS, LS; USDA 6-8.
  • Native to North America.
  • Robust grower to 4 feet tall, half as wide, with arching, light green fronds to 1 feet wide.

marginal shield fern, leather wood fern

dryopteris marginalis

  • Evergreen.
  • Zones US, MS, LS; USDA 6-8.
  • From eastern North America.
  • Grows 24 feet tall and wide.
  • Finely cut, dark blue-green fronds.
  • Takes some drought.

wallich's wood fern

dryopteris wallichiana

  • Evergreen.
  • Zones US, MS, LS; USDA 6-8.
  • Native to India, China.
  • Stately fern 35 feet high, not quite as wide.
  • Fronds have scaly brown stems, turn from bright golden green to dark green with maturity.

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