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Comptonia peregrina

Common Name(s):
Sweet fern
Category:
Shrubs
Comment:

Low maintenance fern in the Myricaceae family. This native to eastern North America has aromatic foliage that resembles ferns, hence the common name of sweetfern.  It is often found along roadsides and is capable of fixing its own nitrogen.  It works well in rain gardens or be allowed to naturalize.  Once established, it can spread rapidly to form colonies.

Play Value: Wildlife Enhancement

Seed: Nutlet

Insects, Diseases, and Other Plant Problems: No significant insect or disease problems.

Height:
2-5 ft.
Foliage:
Zig-zag fragrant leaves are simple, narrow, lustrous, pinnatifid, deeply notched, olive to dark green (to 4" long).
Flower:
Insignificant, yellow-green female, brown male catkins, appear April-May. Greenish brown, burr-like nutlets follow.
Zones:
2-6
Habit:
Deciduous
Site:
A plant that tolerates many conditions including drought, wet sites, and wind. It can even grown in sheltered sea-side locations. Prefers sandy acidic loams, well-drained, in full sun to part . Does not transplant well so choose a location carefully. This would make a good choice for stabilizing slopes or embankments.
Texture:
Fine
Form:
Upright
Width:
4-8 ft.
Tags:
naturalize, wet sites, deciduous, low maintenance, fragrant leaves, play, playground, rain garden, children’s garden, wet

NCCES plant id: 3208

Comptonia peregrina Leaves
Sten Porse, CC-BY-SA-3.0
Comptonia peregrina Upright form
Sten Porse, CC-BY-SA-3.0
Comptonia peregrina Male (catkins brown) and female flowers
Jomegat, CC-BY-SA-3.0