Cryptogramma

The parsley ferns (and parsley-looking they are) greet hikers at higher elevations along the trails in North America, Europe, the Andes, and parts of Asia. They snuggle with their roots protected at the bases of rocks or in crevices, sometimes in abundance, and bravely face the sunshine. Fronds are dimorphic with leafy sterile fronds responsible for the common name and taller, upright fertile fronds responsible for the botanical. The genus name comes from the Greek kryptos, hidden, and gramme,...

Cheilanthes covillei Covilles lip fern

Epithet is after Frederick Coville (1867-1937), chief botanist for the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Evergreen, 6 to 12 in. (15 to 30 cm).Zones 7 to 9. description The rhizome is short-creeping. Coffee-brown, rounded stipes are up to one-half of the length of the frond. The lanceolate tripinnate blades have 10 to 12 pairs of pinnae with beady segments. The upper surface is glabrous, but the rachis and midveins of the pinnae undersides have small, overlapping, ovate scales with a heart-shaped...

Argyrochosma

Synonyms Cheilanthes, Notholaena, Pellaea Argyrochosma gathers together some 20 intriguing xeric species that until 1987 (Windham) were classified under one or another of the above synonyms. The appropriately descriptive genus name Argyrochosma, from the Greek argyros, silver, and chosma, powder, references the waxy, white protective foliar undercoat that decorates many of the species. Others are included by virtue of the stalks and cordate bases on the minute ultimate segments. These are...

Polypodium glycyrrhiza

Wintergreen (summer dormant), 1 to 2 ft. (30 to 60 cm). Zones 5 to 8. description The rhizome is long-creeping with a pseudo-licorice flavor. Stipes are tan, often maturing to a greenish brown, and one-third of the frond length. Blades are lanceolate and pinnatifid with 10 to 20 or more pairs of pointed linear, dull green, smooth-margined pinnae. The rachis is unusual in having a smattering of hairs on the upper surface matching a mild distribution of hairs on the...

Cheilanthes feei slender lip fern

Epithet is after French botanist Antoine F e (1789-1874). Evergreen, 6 to 10 in. (15 to 25 cm).Zones 5 to 8. Apogamous. Upright fronds of Cheilanthes eatonii among rocks in the Horder garden. The underside of a fertile frond on Cheilanthes farinosa showing the namesake white farina. Cheilanthes fendleri silhouetted against a stump in the Carstensen garden. Cheilanthes fendleri silhouetted against a stump in the Carstensen garden. A colony of Cheilanthes feei on the east side of the Ladronas...

Maidenhair ferns

The maidenhairs are popular and beautifully irresistible, delicate-appearing plants that evoke the traditional image of fern in the mind's eye of the gardening public. The maidenhair fern . . . is one of the few species with which those who make no pretense to botanical knowledge are usually acquainted (Clute 1901). There are some 150 to 200 species scattered over the world's various fern habitats with a rich assortment of natives populating favored sites in the American tropics. Given their...

Dryopteris filixmas Male fern

Epithet means male fern, a name applied by the Greeks because of the fern's robust masculine character. (We ladies get the supposedly delicate Athyrium filix-femina.) Deciduous, 2 to 4 ft. (60 to 120 cm).Zones 4 to 8. description Stout erect rhizomes support bouquets of fronds with dull green pinnate-pinnatifid blades and tan grooved stipes that are one-quarter to occasionally one-third of the frond length. They are sparsely trimmed with a unique mixture of light to reddish brown scales and...

Shorter Notes

Asplenium aethiopicum (African, from Ethiopia) is occasionally available commercially and is suitable for outdoor cultivation in Zones 9 to 11 or indoors elsewhere. Lanceolate fronds mature at 12 to 15 in. (30 to 38 cm) and have 12 to 18 pairs of variable dark green bipinnate pinnae. This species is apogamous. Asplenium australasicum (from Australia) is a tender bird's nest species with simple fronds that can, in time, reach 5 ft. (1.5 m) tall. They are a brilliant, satiny green and are...

The British Pteridological Society

The British Pteridological Society, the world's oldest fern society, offers members a balance between horticultural interests and the purely botanical. The Society publishes three annual journals The Fern Gazette, which presents scholarly articles The Bulletin, which reports on the annual activities, field excursions, and society business and The Pteridologist, which includes a broad range of articles of general fern interest. In addition special publications are released periodically with the...

Water clover ferns

The water clover ferns are most unfernlike in their four-leaf clover configuration as well as in their preference for floating atop still waters. Most of the world's 50 to 60 species are from tropical wetlands, but a few grace ponds and gather at water's edge in temperate zones. The rhizomes spread about in the muck of bottomlands sending up fronds with signature clover-shaped pinnae that decorate surface waters in light shade or preferably sun. Their complex reproductive cycle, arising from...

Polystichum proliferum Mother shield fern

Epithet means bearing offspring, referring to the production of one or more buds at the frond's apex. Evergreen, 2 to 4 ft. (60 to 120 cm). Zones (6) 7 to 9. description The rhizome is erect, sometimes forming a small trunk and bearing remnants of old stipe bases. Short stipes of one-fifth to one-fourth of the frond length are grooved and decorated with a wrap of shiny dark-centered brown scales. Juvenile blades are bright, light, almost lime-green, maturing to rich, deep green coniferous hues....

Selaginella uncinata Peacock fern

Selaginella Erythropus Soil

Subevergreen to evergreen, prostrate. Zones 6 to 10. description Creeping and branching stems create extended mats of stubby overlapping segments of iridescent electric-blue to blue-green foliage. The plant roots easily as it travels about. range and habitat Although native to China, this species has escaped in the southeastern tier of the united states. it needs moist shade. culture and comments While it is generally recommended for Zone 6 and up, peacock fern can...

Woodsia manchuriensis

Deciduous, 4 to 15 in. (10 to 38 cm). Zones 4 to 8. description The rhizome is erect. Russet stipes are not jointed and are very short, usually under 2 in. (5 cm). They are scaly at their base with few to no hairs or scales elsewhere. Lanceolate, pinnate-pinnatifid (and seriously close to bipin-nate) blades are a pale chalky green on their undersides and bear 15 to 25 pairs of pinnae with the lowermost reduced to widely spaced stubs. sori are close to the margins...

Dryopteris polylepis

Evergreen, 2 ft. (60 cm). Zones 6 to 8. description The rhizome is erect with fronds radiating in arching horizontal sprays from short stipes that are one-fifth of the total foliage. As the common name implies, these are massively and handsomely dressed in blackish-brown scales that extend well onto the rachis. The narrow oblanceolate blades are pinnate-pinnatifid and a warm kelly-green. The 20 to 28 pairs of pinnae taper gradually toward the frond's base with the...

Dryopteris aemula

Hay-scented wood fern, hay-scented buckler fern Epithet means imitating or rivaling other ferns. Semievergreen, 2 ft. (60 cm). Zones 6 to 8. description The rhizome is erect. The frond is half purple-brown stipe, with scattered brown scales, and half medium green, triangular-ovate blades bearing minute glands. The 10 to 20 pairs of tripinnate pinnae curve gracefully towards the drooping frond apex. The sori are medial (between the midrib and margin), and the indusium is kidney-shaped. range and...

Tuberous sword fern

Epithet means with heart-shaped leaves. Evergreen, 18 to 30 in. (45 to 75 cm).Zones 9 to 11. description The rhizome is wide creeping and forms unusual tuberous buds. Stipes are small and insignificant. Narrow upright blades taper at both base and apex and are crowded with 40 to 50 pairs of pinnae. Sori with kidney-shaped indusia are submarginal. range and habitat This species is native in a wide expanse of the tropics including the West Indies, Mexico, South America, the South pacific, and...

Pyrrosia

Pyrrosias, with their unfernlike appearances, come to our temperate gardens, our contrasting subtropical comforts, and the luxury of greenhouses as felt ferns. The common name describes the coating of hairy silver stars that decorate the unfurling fronds. These will mature to a soft, felt-like, rusty blanket that persists on the fronds' undersides and protects the indusia-free developing spores. Pyrrosia is a genus with short- to long-creeping rhizomes, with those of many species slender and...

Asplenium csikii

Synonym Asplenium trichomanes subsp. pachyrachis Epithet is after Erno Csiki, a late nineteenth-century Hungarian beetle specialist. Evergreen, 4 to 6 in. (10 to 15 cm).Zones 5 to 8. description The rhizome is erect. Dark chocolate-black stipes are short to almost nonexistent and bear an occasional black scale or hair. Narrowly lanceolate blades are once- pinnate with 10 to 15 pairs of overlapping blue-green pinnae. Sori are in a linear herringbone pattern with matching indu-sia and are...

Polystichum stenophyllum

Evergreen, 6 to 18 in. (15 to 45 cm).Zones 6 to 8. description The rhizome is erect. The grooved green stipes are one-fourth of the frond length and trimmed with long-tailed tan scales. The once-pinnate linear blades are firm and very narrow, ranging from V2 to 1 in. (13 to 25 mm) wide. Frond tips can have a minute, proliferous bud, smaller than a pinhead, near the apex. (They are not obvious.) Fifteen to twenty pairs of serrate, auricled pinnae are rosy pink in new...

Cheilanthes bonariensis

Evergreen, 1 ft. (30 cm).Zones 8 and 9. Apogamous. description The rhizome is short-creeping to erect with dark chocolate-colored, slight stipes to one-fifth of the frond length. The narrow 1- to 11 2-in. (2.5- to 3.8-cm) wide, linear once-pinnate blades have 30 to 40 pairs of many lobed pinnae. The blue-green upper surface is lightly dusted with an occa sional stubby hair. The undersides, however, are magnificently coated with mats of woolly, cream-colored to...

Synonym Polypodium australe

Epithet means from Cambria, an old name for Wales. Wintergreen (summer dormant), 4 to 24 in. (10 to 60 cm). Zones 6 (when heavily winter mulched) to 9. description The rhizome is short- to long-creeping. Stipes are one-half of the frond length, and the apple-green pinnate blades are ovate with the second from the bottom pair of pinnae the longest. The 12 to 18 pairs of pinnae are frequently serrate. Sori without indusia are round and pregnant with bright yellow spores when ripe. The species and...

Arachniodes simplicior East Indian holly fern

Epithet means simpler, referring to the fronds which are less finely divided than those of A. aristata. Evergreen, 1 to 2 ft. (30 to 60 cm).Zones 7 to 9. description The rhizome is long-creeping, producing fronds periodically. The plant is not bushy in the pacific Northwest. The tannish-green stipes with dark basal scales are upwards of one-half of the frond length. Thick radiant blades are bipinnate daggers with expansive two to five lower pairs of pinnae sweeping out well beyond the ultimate,...

Spores

Although the average gardener looking for a few new ferns is rightfully happy with the season's crop at the local or mail-order nursery, the truly addicted eventually turn to growing their ferns from spores. Success will reinforce the addiction, causing it to grow exponentially, and can yield hundreds of plants, rapidly filling the garden (and on occasion leading to the establishment of a fern nursery). Despite its reputation, spore propagation is not particularly difficult, but it does take...

Dryopteris erythrosora Autumn fern

Zones (5) 6 to 9.Apogamous. description The rhizome is short-creeping and produces Dryopteris dilatata 'Lepidota Cristata' Dryopteris dilatata 'Lepidota Cristata' a bountiful spring crop of remarkable red-stemmed and red-foliaged fronds. The frond is one-half stipe with an equal portion of broad, shiny, bipinnate, triangular blades with upwards of 10 pairs of pinnae. In time they fade from their coppery-red spring glory to a most acceptable glossy summer...

Tree Ferns

Layering Tree Ferns

Tree ferns are magnificent specimens native to the moist forests of the Caribbean, Mexico, Central America, and across the entire Southern Hemisphere where they stand tall and dignified. They are indeed treelike and range in height from 3 to 60 ft. (90 cm to 18 m) with members of the Cyatheaceae being the tallest. The arching fronds, among the largest leaves of any plant, flush from the top of the trunk and can reach 20 ft. (6 m). Like most ferns they are ancient plants, predating the dinosaur...

Woodsia polystichoides

Woodsia Polystichoides

Deciduous, 6 to 14 in. (30 to 35 cm). Zones 5 to 8. description The rhizome is erect to creeping with tufts of old stipe bases. Mahogany stipes are jointed, breaking close to the rachis, and are typically one-third of the frond length. Narrow, once-pinnate, lax blades are linear with 15 to 25 pairs of Woodsia polystichoides in the rock garden at the Bellevue Botanical Garden. auriculate (eared), dull green pinnae. The pinnae are stalked as opposed to Woodsia...

Woodwardia orientalis Oriental chain fern

Evergreen, 3 to 5 ft. or more (90 to 150 cm). Zones 9 and 10. description The scaly short ascending rhizome gives rise to a vase of bright green ovate fronds atop a thick green stipe that can be up to one-half the length of the frond. The blade, like those of so many woodwardias, is pinnate-pinnatifid with pointed toothy pinnae. A mature frond produces an astonishing number of little plantlets, suggestive of baby Japanese maple seeds (samaras), on the upper surface....

Polystichum lemmonii Shasta fern

Lemmon (1832-1908), who discovered the species on Mount Shasta in california. Evergreen, 6 to 12 in. (15 to 30 cm).Zones 6 to 8. description The rhizome is erect and creeping, covered with the stubble of old frond stipes. The stipe is one-fourth to one-third of the frond length and has russet scales. The very narrow linear-lanceolate blade is fully bipinnate to bipinnate-pinnatifid. The densely crowded 20 to 30 pairs of pinnae are twisted on a horizontal plane and are...

Woodland Gardens

In the woodland garden, ferns enjoy a site with filtered light shade and soil1 (not to be called dirt) enriched with compost, humus, or the well-draining leaf mold associated with the undisturbed forest floor. Most species appreciate and thrive in acid soil that fortuitously occurs naturally under a canopy of conifers with their annual top-dressing droppings of lightweight needles. A clay soil, while nutritionally dense, is problematic. For most gardeners, it is easier to establish plants in...

Blechnum chilense

Evergreen, 3 to 5 ft. (90 to 150 cm). Zones 7 (with protection) to 9. Dimorphic. Intense red temporarily colors the new fronds on Blechnum brasiliense 'Crispum'. description The rhizome is long-creeping, tossing up sturdy erect fronds at random. Grooved stipes, with abundant basal scales, are the color of weak tea and are one-half of the frond length. The once-pinnate, narrowly oblong blades have 10 to 20 pairs of rubbery pinnae on a bit of a stalk. The extended apex...

Asplenium trichomanes Maidenhair spleenwort

Also from Theophrastus, hair madness. Evergreen, 4 to 8 in. (10 to 20 cm).Zones 3 to 9. description The rhizome is ascending. Glossy reddish-brown stipes with a flattened groove are one-fourth to one-third of the frond length and barely visible under the foliage. Some are persistent for years with batons of upright, naked spikes. Narrow, once-pinnate blades are linear with 20 to 30 pairs of round to oblong, matte green pinnae. Sori and indu-sia are linear in a...

Athyrium rupestre

Deciduous, 6 to 16 in. (15 to 40 cm). Zones 5 to 8. description The rhizome is erect. Plum-red stipes with swollen bases bearing dark scales are one-third of the frond length. Lanceolate to ovate blades are pinnate-pinnatifid with 10 to 15 pairs of pinnae. Sori with fringed indusia are crescent to J-shaped. range and habitat This species is native to well-chilled climates in eastern Russia and Japan where it is a cliff dweller in the mountains. culture and...

Dennstaedtia wilfordii

Epithet is after Charles Wilford, who collected in China and Japan in the 1800s. Dennstaedtia punctilobula wends its way through a mixed planting in the Kennar garden. Dennstaedtia punctilobula sweeps around boulders along a roadside in New York. Dennstaedtia punctilobula sweeps around boulders along a roadside in New York. Large arching fronds of Dennstaedtia davallioides in the Peters garden. Deciduous, 6 to 16 in. (15 to 40 cm). Zones 4 to 8. description The rhizome is long-creeping....

Davallia

Members of this genus are characterized by furry rhizomes that creep along the surface of the soil, producing baskets of finely divided fronds and tangles of rhizomes. Their common names are often dedicated to various critters including squirrels, rabbits, hares, and even bears epithets that tend to overlap in the literature and certainly in commerce. Basically they are Zone 9 to 11 plants but have a welcome ease of cultivation in households everywhere. Humidity is not critical, nor is the...

Blechnum brasiliense

Evergreen, 2 to 4 ft. (60 to 120 cm). Zones 9 and 10, or greenhouse. description The rhizome is erect, eventually lifting to form a stipe-stubbled trunk of 12 in. (30 cm) in circumference. Fronds form a dramatic upright shuttlecock of open foliage. The succulent, short, 2-in. (5-cm) stipes are dark with matching chocolate-colored linear scales. The obovate blade is widest above the midpoint and tapers strongly at the base. Blechnum brasiliense in the Fernery at the...

Cheilanthes

Cheilanthes are dryland ferns and quite the opposite of the traditional, stereotypical and beautiful woodland shade lovers that evoke visions of greenery in the world's forests. We cherish and cultivate those for a myriad of reasons, but many avid gardeners also attempt the xerics, including cheilanthes, for their unique ornamental qualities as well as the challenge of establishing notoriously difficult species. And challenging they are. Cheilanthes like arid, desertlike habitats and have...

Arachniodes

Synonyms Leptorumohra, Polystichopsis The arachniodes are an elegant and tidy collection of 50 to more than 100 species (depending, per Hassler and Swale 2002 , on the status of the Chinese nomenclature) of well-mannered, primarily evergreen contributions to horticulture. Along with Cyr-tomium and Polystichum, they were once classified as Aspidium. They share the botanical characteristic of kidney-shaped indu-sia with Dryopteris and the polished, frequently bristle-tipped pinnae and pinnules...

Award Winning Ferns

Britain's Royal Horticultural Society Award of Garden Merit Program selects plants that are recommended as excellent for garden use based on a number of criteria including decorative value, pest resistance and ease of cultivation. The ferns that have passed their testing program as of April 2005 are Dryopteris affinis 'Crispa Gracilis' Dryopteris affinis'Cristata' (The King) Dryopteris affinis 'Cristata Angustata' Dryopteris affinis 'Polydactyla Mapplebeck' Dryopteris dilatata 'Crispa...

Blechnum spicant Deer fern

Evergreen, IV2 to 2V2 ft. (45 to 75 cm). Zones 5 to 8. Dimorphic. description The rhizome is erect. Horizontal whorls of evergreen, oblanceolate, sterile fronds are once-pinnate with 40 or more pairs of pinnae that are greatly reduced at the base. The purplish-brown grooved stipes are one-sixth or less of the frond length. Deciduous fertile fronds, with grooved shiny ebony stipes of up to one-half of the frond length, are taller and upright, waving to the breeze to...

Lygodium japonicum Japanese climbing fern

Deciduous to evergreen, to 20 ft. (6 m). Zones 6 (with huge amounts of protection) to 10. description The rhizome is short-creeping. Eight-inch (20-cm) stipes, soft and apple green when unfurling, mature to brittle tan shoots. in indoor or warm situations the fronds grow just slightly slower than blackberry vines and, especially when given appropriate support, can twist and tower to 20 ft. (6 m). Outdoors in Zone 8, one or two fronds faithfully emerge in midsummer and,...

Astrolepis

Astrolepis (star-scaled cloak fern) species were, until 1992 (Benham and Windham), classified under the broad cloak of Cheilanthes and or Notholaena and, more specifically, traditionally grouped as Cheilanthes or Notholaena sinuata or varieties thereof. The upper pinnae surfaces have a smattering of the namesake starry hairs, and the lower surfaces are crowded with a thick mat of matching silver to tan starry scales. Veins are free, forking, and barely visible. There are two vascular bundles as...

Woodwardia unigemmata

Epithet means single-jeweled, referring to the bulbil which Evergreen, 3 to 7 ft. (90 to 210 cm). Zones 8 to 10. description A thick rhizome produces fountains of cascading fronds with a greenish stipe up to 30 in. (75 cm) and pinnate-pinnatifid blades up to 4 ft. (1.2 m) long and 2 ft. (60 cm) wide. Young fronds are a sumptuous sight of glossy red and fade in time to a deep green. The pinnae are alternate, very mildly toothed, and strongly acute at their tip and edges. The linear sori, covered...

Adiantum aleuticum Western maidenhair

Balancing Fern Canyon

Deciduous, 11 2 to 21 2 ft. (45 to 75 cm).Zones 3 to 8. description The rhizome is short-creeping, producing bushels of bright green foliar fans on upright, iridescent blackish, grooved stipes. Unlike the extremely closely related (and former namesake) A. pedatum, A. aleuticum produces green, not cherry red, new growth. The stipes are one-half or more of the total frond structure and fork at their tips into two radiating and continuous branches. A close look may reveal a single fan-shaped...

Polystichum deltodon

Epithet means deltoid, triangular in outline. Evergreen, 8 in. 20 cm . Zones 6 to 8. description The rhizome is erect and the deeply grooved stipe, which is one-fourth of the frond length, has an occa The low-growing Polystichum deltodon serves as a reliable foreground evergreen with kindred shade lovers. The low-growing Polystichum deltodon serves as a reliable foreground evergreen with kindred shade lovers. sional appressed tan scale. Blades are lanceolate, once-pinnate with 15 to 18 pairs of...

Pyrrosia linearifolia

Evergreen, 3 to 8 in. 7.5 to 20 cm .Zones 8 with protection to 10. description The rhizome is creeping. Short pseudo-stipes merge gradually into the blades with the whole being shaped like a narrow paddle. The fronds are lax to procumbent and with their pubescent hairs look rather dull, but not uninteresting. Scattered hydathodes are visible on the upper frond surface. Sori without indusia are in rows of dots on either side of the midrib veering on an angle toward...

Arachniodes standishii Upside down fern

Epithet is perhaps after John Standish 1814-1875 , a British nurseryman who imported from Japan. Evergreen, 2 to 3 ft. 60 to 90 cm .Zones 5 to 9. description The rhizome creeps slowly. Grooved pea-green stipes are one-third of the frond length. The stipe scales are a dark russet and especially prevalent on new growth. Broadly ovate blades, produced in a more vaselike arrangement than other arachniodes, are tripinnate-pinnatifid to, rarely, quadripinnate with 10 to 18 pairs of borderline glassy,...

Cyathea cooperi

Australian tree fern, coin spot tree fern Synonyms Sphaeropteris cooperi, Alsophila cooperi Epithet is after British naturalist Daniel Cooper 1817-1842 . Evergreen, 40 ft. 12 m . Zones 8 with heavy winter protection to 10. description The trunk, up to 6 in. 15 cm in diameter, can quickly reach 40 ft. 12 m and has coin spots, oval scars where old fronds have broken away. Bipinnate-pinnatifid broadly lanceolate fronds on long stipes arch to 15 ft. 4.5 m long. Stipes and trunk have white scales...

Pyrrosia polydactyla

Synonym Pyrrosia polydactylis Epithet means many fingered. Evergreen, 8 to 12 in. 20 to 30 cm . Zone 8 with protection to 10. description The rhizome is short-creeping. Upright stipes, which are pale green as juveniles and blackish in old age, support semicircles of palmate, three- to five-lobed, matte green, horizontal blades. New growth emerges cloaked in silvery, pussy foot fuzz and recedes in time with a modest sprinkling of residual hairy stars on the upper surface and an array of crowded...

Selaginella borealis

Evergreen, 2 to 6 in. 5 to 15 cm .Zones 3 to 8. description Small, tightly woven, thin threads of dark green braided foliage zigzag with airy twigs of scattering branches. The stalks are short and grow from slowly creeping wiry underground stems. range and habitat This is primarily a native of extremely cold habitats from China through Mongolia to Russia. There it grows on the exposed steppes adjacent to Lake Baikal, which at 5720 ft. 1720 m is the world's deepest...

Dryopteris dickinsii

Kidney Shaped Sorus Dryopteris

Dickins 1838-1915 . Evergreen, 1V2 to 2 ft. 45 to 60 cm . Zones 6 to 8. Apogamous. description The rhizome is short and erect. The grooved stipes are one-quarter of the frond length with small scales, usually brownish. The once-pinnate narrow blades are a refreshing light green and have shallowly scalloped pinnae. The lowest pinnae pair is shorter and inclined slightly downwards. The sori are submarginal and covered with a kidney-shaped indusium. range and habitat...

Pyrrosia sheareri

Evergreen, 11 2 to 2V2 ft. 45 to 75 cm .Zones 7 to 10. description The rhizome is short-creeping and not wiry. Succulent pea-green stipes are at least V4 in. 6 mm in diameter, covered with fawn-colored, downy stellate hairs and are one-third or more of the frond length. It is flat, but not grooved, on the upper surface. Simple blades unfurl in shimmering silver fleece and at maturity are leathery, dark green, and frequently cordate at the base. The contrasting, prominent midrib and parallel...

Dryopteris decipiens

Deciduous to evergreen winter cold dependent , 1 to 1V2 ft. 30 to 45 cm . Zones 5 to 8. Apogamous. description The rhizome forms an erect crown. Spare rosettes of blunt-tipped, pinnate-pinnatifid fronds, with a silky opalescent pink glow, grow shyly. The short, grooved stipes are usually less than one-fourth of the frond length. There are 15 to 20 pairs of pinnae with the lower pair flaring forward and downwards. Spores are produced reluctantly on medial sori. range and...

Rumohra

Rumohra was named in honor of Karl von Rumohr 1785-1843 , an artist from Dresden, Germany. The species, numbering from one to eight, are Southern Hemisphere natives. The recognized species of distinction, Rumohra adi-antiformis resembling maidenhair, a rather peculiar and in Quercifilix zeylanica in the Fernery at the Morris Arboretum. Quercifilix zeylanica in the Fernery at the Morris Arboretum. Rumohra adiantiformis spreads gently with rich, low foliage in shades of deep green in the Duryee...

Bulbils

I once saw a program where a professional, who should have known better, described how to grow ferns from cuttings. This was especially interesting and disconcerting since ferns do not grow from cuttings. And folks wonder why they have little luck with fern propagating. Growing from bulbils, or bulblets little nodules along the fern's rachis, the stemlike section of the leafy portion of the frond , comes close, but is not the same. Cystopteris bulbifera has bulbils the color and size of peas...

Polystichum xiphophyllum

Evergreen, 1V2 ft. 45 cm . Zones 6 7 and 8. Apogamous. description The rhizome is erect. Stipes are grooved, dark-scaled, and one-fourth of the frond length. The lanceolate once-pinnate blades with 20 to 25 pairs of pinnae have a silvery green patina. The detached auricle is prominent and gives the pinnae an upward-running tail adjacent to the rachis. Sori with peltate indusia are medial. range and habitat This is a rare species from China, Taiwan, and India....

Bogs

Certain ferns are at their lush and robust best in spongy to boggy soil. These include the osmundas, Onoclea sen-sibilis, a number of woodwardias, and some dryopteris and thelypteris. Most can be and are admired in their wild habitats especially from the midwestern to the eastern United States. Private gardens usually do not come with pre-existing bogs, however, but bogs can be created artificially. First bury a plastic liner in the desired spot lowland please . The liner should be punched with...

Northern maidenhair five finger fern

Epithet means palmate or pedate, as in a bird's foot. Deciduous, 1V2 to 2 ft. 45 to 60 cm .Zones 3 to 8. description The rhizome is short-creeping. Brittle stipes are purple-black and usually one-half the length of the frond. Adiantum pedatum 'Miss Sharpies'with Acerpalmatum HO 19. They fork into two major branches that curl in an indeterminate recurved circular pattern. The six to eight pinnae per branch become progressively smaller, eventually forming a small curlicue. Note that, unlike...

Polystichum neolobatum

Asian saber fern, long-eared holly fern Epithet means new lobed or new Polystichum lobatum. Evergreen, IV2 to 2 ft. 45 to 60 cm .Zones 5 to 8. Apogamous. description The rhizome is erect. The slightly grooved green stipes are barely visible under the lush coating of papery, reddish brown V2-in. 13-mm prominent scales. These are reduced in size as they proceed up the frond, but are in such numbers that the viewer imagines the rachis to be ruddy. The succulent stipes are one-third of the frond...

Asplenium incisum

Evergreen, 6 to 12 in. 15 to 30 cm .Zones 6 to 9. description The rhizome is erect. Stipes of one-fourth the frond length are green and slightly grooved. Narrowly lanceolate blades are once-pinnate or more commonly bipinnate with 10 to 20 pairs of pinnae. They are widest in the The forked form of Asplenium foreziense in the Baggett garden. Photo by Jim Baggett. The forked form of Asplenium foreziense in the Baggett garden. Photo by Jim Baggett. The alpine Asplenium foreziense serves nobly in...

Ferns on Walls

Growing ferns on walls is a step more specialized and challenging than rock gardening but may include a number of species suited for both habitats. It appears to be the only situation that will support the lifestyle of that wretchedly difficult but beautifully photogenic Ceter-ach officinarum. Wall dwellers tend to prefer grit rather than soil and are frequently seen peering from crevices in venerable old buildings in Britain and Europe. And what a wondrous sight they are. It is possible,...

Polystichum rigens

Evergreen, IV2 ft. 45 cm .Zones 6 to 8. Apogamous. description The rhizome is erect. Stipes are grooved and green with brown scales concentrated at the base. They are one-third or more of the frond length. Radiant, narrowly triangular, bipinnate blades are a rich deep green. Twelve to fifteen pairs of sickle-shaped pinnae are tipped with sharp spines. Sori with peltate indusia are medial. range and habitat Polystichum rigens is a rare species from the montane forests of China and Japan. culture...

Cyrtomium caryotideum

Epithet means nutlike, from Greek caryo or caryota, referring to the leaves which are similar to those on nut trees. Evergreen, 2 ft. 60 cm .Zones 7 to 10. Apogamous. description The rhizome is erect. Straw-colored stipes with dark basal scales are one-third to one-half of the frond length. Oblong, once-pinnate blades bear three to six pairs of pale green pinnae and a large terminal pinna. Slightly stalked 2-in. 5-cm long triangular pinnae are auricled frequently on both sides of their base...

Dryopteris xaustralis Dixie wood fern

Epithet means southern. Semievergreen, 4 to 5 ft. 1.2 to 1.5 m . Zones 4 5 to 9. description The rhizome is short-creeping and branches modestly. The stipe is one-third of the frond length, and the creamy green, lanceolate blades are pinnate-pinnatifid. There are 16 to 20 pairs of pinnae with the fertile upper portions reduced in size and bearing abortive spores. range and habitat Like its parents, this fern is native to dampish areas of the southeastern swath...

Adiantum poiretii Mexican maidenhair

Pacific Maidenhair Fern

Epithet is after French naturalist Jean Poiret 1755-1834 . Deciduous, 8 to 24 in. 20 to 60 cm . Zones 8 and 9. description The rhizome is short- to long-creeping. Deep cranberry-black, smooth stipes are one-fourth to one-half of the frond length. Oval to narrowly triangular blades are bi-pinnate to tripinnate and carry the stipe color into the base of the stalked, softly scalloped pinnules. Marginal sori are oblong beneath the false indusia and infused with an unusual for the genus yellow...

Selaginella Stauntoniana

Selaginella bigelovii after physician-botanist John Milton Bigelow, 1804-1878 , the bushy spikemoss, straddles the California-Mexico border where it clings to rocks on assorted substrates. Slender green fingers extend horizontally from tawny 3- to 4-in. 7.5- to 10-cm stems. It is reputed to be hardy in Zones 8 to 10. Selaginella densa crowded is an aptly named velvety green, furry creeper native from canada down through the backbone of the Rocky Mountains to higher elevations in Arizona. The...

Athyrium filixfemina Lady fern

Rickard Ferns

Deciduous, 3 to 6 ft. 90 to 180 cm .Zones 4 to 8. description The rhizome is stout and erect. Succulent, grooved, greenish-tan stipes are swollen at the base, with dark brown scales, and are up to or sometimes exceeding half of the frond length. Lanceolate blades are bipinnate-pinnatifid with 20 to 30 pairs of pinnae. New fronds are produced throughout the season. Sori and indusia are linear, crescent or hook-shaped athyroid . range and habitat Athyrium filix-femina...

Beech ferns

Depending on your age, the three Phegopteris species may be more familiar as members of the genus Thelypteris and to many of us are recognizable under both classifications . They have many common characteristics including a fuzz of clear needlelike hairs, a pair of vascular bundles looking remarkably, at their base, like peanuts in a shell , creeping rhizomes or erect rhizomes with roots that produce creeping runners, a botanical distinction , and deciduous fronds. Currently Phegopteris is...

Polypodium formosanum Caterpillar fern

Ferns With Green Rhizomes

Wintergreen, 18 to 24 in. 45 to 60 cm .Zones 9 and 10. description The striking creeping rhizome, crisscrossing itself freely in a tangle, is thick and a chalky pale green. It has small black scales as well as minute black craters technically known as phyllopodia that are the scarred stumps left after the fronds are shed. The chocolate-colored stipes are one-half Yellow sori add interest to the fertile frond of Polypodium cambricum 'Semilacerum Falcatum O'Kelly,...

Staghorn ferns

Watering Staghorn Ferns

With their unique outlines, the staghorn ferns are in a class all by themselves. Wherever available, and sometimes when not so available making them all the more desirable , they have attracted an ardent support group devoted to their culture and definition. In nature they are epiphytes and in cultivation they hang from assorted structures as outdoor greenery in Southern California, Florida, and wherever else they can be protected from the elements. Indoors they are prized in homes and...

Xeric Ferns

The ferns of the world's drylands offer a total contrast to the stereotypical concept of fern. Seeing them growing in the wild is an amazing sight indeed. One of my earliest exposures was at a remote place called Bumblebee 4 no, I do not know why , Arizona. In a dry gulch that would serve as a site for a cowboy's last gasp in a western movie were assorted ferns nestled up against boulders. Here their roots reached deeply down for the minimal water source with the boulder providing a cool root...

Gymnocarpium disjunctum Western oak fern Epithet means disjunct

Colored Ferns

Goniophlebium subauriculatum 'Knightiae' in the Fernery at the Morris Arboretum. Deciduous, 9 to 18 in. 23 to 45 cm . Zones 4 to cool summer 8. description In appropriately humusy soil, the rhizomes creep easily and widely. Smooth, brittle stipes are straw-colored and up to one-half of the frond length. Soft green triangular to pentagonal horizontal blades are tripinnate-pin-natifid. Six to ten pairs of pinnae have extended lower pinnules. Significantly for this species the innermost lower...

Polystichum retrosopaleaceum

Polystichum Retrosopaleaceum

Synonym Polystichum aculeatum var. retroso-paleaceum Epithet means twisted back scales. Evergreen, 2 to 3 ft. 60 to 90 cm . Zones 5 to 8. description The rhizome is erect. The grooved stipes are dark chocolate in color, one-fourth of the frond length, and trimmed on opposite outer sides with down- and forward-thrusting pale tan scales. The lanceolate blade with earthward-pointing basal pinnae is bipinnate with 20 or more pairs of pinnae. Sori are medial with peltate indusia. range and habitat...

Osmunda claytoniana Interrupted fern Synonym Osmunda interrupta

Epithet is after John Clayton 1686-1773 , a British botanist in North America. Deciduous, 2 to 3 ft. 60 to 90 cm .Zones 2 to 8. Dimorphic. description The rhizome is thick and upright. The unique fertile fronds have leafy tissue at the bottoms and tops, with Osmunda claytoniana showing fertile fronds interrupted with sporangia between top and bottom. blackish sporangia in the middle, hence the common name, interrupted fern. It also leads some customers to wonder whether the middle is diseased....

Growing Ferns Indoors

Growing Ferns Indoors

As with garden ferns, the three major areas of concern when growing ferns indoors are soil, light, and water. In addition, attention to temperature is more critical and must be determined by the preferences of the individual species or cultivars. Sacks of fern-specific soil, usually containing various combinations of peat, sterilized compost, and perhaps sand, pumice, and or perlite, are easily purchased from most garden centers and are in general ready to use. I find many somewhat heavy,...

Polystichum setiferum Soft shield fern

Evergreen, 2 to 3 ft. 60 to 90 cm . Zones 5 to 8. description The rhizome is erect, supporting wide fans of soft, willowy fronds. The grooved stipes are coated with warm-brown scales that are a glittering silver on emerging fiddle-heads. They are one-fifth of the frond length. The bipinnate, lanceolate blade is broadest in the middle with 30 to 40 pairs of pinnae with stalked, toothy spinulose pinnules. Sori with peltate indusia are medial. range and habitat Soft...

Cyrtomium lonchitoides

Epithet means spear-shaped or lance-shaped. Evergreen, 1 to 1V2 ft. 30 to 45 cm .Zones 6 to 9. description The rhizome is erect. Bright green stipes of one-fourth of the frond length emerge from dark chocolate bases and are sparsely trimmed with buff scales. Once-pinnate Slender fronds of Cyrtomium lonchitoides in the Gassner Bold large leaves on Cyrtomium macrophyllum. Slender fronds of Cyrtomium lonchitoides in the Gassner Bold large leaves on Cyrtomium macrophyllum. narrowly lanceolate...

Pyrrosia eleagnifolia

Epithet means leaves like an olive tree. Evergreen, 1 to 3 in. 2.5 to 7.5 cm . Zones 9 and 10. Dimorphic. description The rhizome is long-creeping, producing masses of 1-in. 2.5-cm , fleshy, elliptic sterile fronds on very short stipes. Slightly taller narrow fertile fronds, say 2 or 3 in. 5 to 7.5 cm tall, have two rows of indusia-free sori on either side of the midrib. The upper surface of the undivided pinnae is forest-green with a smattering of hairs. The undersides are coated with stellate...

Harts tongue ferns

With their kelly-green fronds in straplike or various configurations thereof, the hart's tongue ferns can be remarkable additions to the garden's fern portfolio. Phyllitis from Dioscorides' Greek means simple frond. The common species, P. scolopendrium, as opposed to its multiple varieties, is an upright, unbranched entire or simple tongue growing from an erect rhizome. Short succulent stipes, with back-to-back vascular bundles, lift emerging fronds looking like budding Jacks in the pulpit...