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Lady Fern Athyrium filix-femina

Previously known as:

  • Polypodium filix-femina
Phonetic Spelling
a-THEE-ree-um FEE-liks FEM-in-ah
Description

Athyrium filix-femina, commonly called lady fern, is a deciduous fern that features lacy-cut, erect or ascending, 2 to 3-pinnate or pinnatifid, finely-divided, lanceolate, light green fronds which grow in a dense circular shuttlecock-like clump to 2-3' tall. Each frond (leaf) has twenty to thirty pairs of elliptic non-opposite pinna (leaflets) with narrow pointed tips. Each pinna is divided into deeply-cut lanceolate to oblong pinnules (subleaflets). Sori and indusia are found on the undersides of the pinnules. This is a circumglobal species which is found in rich moist woods, thickets, fields, meadows and ravines throughout northern North America, Europe and Asia.

Genus name comes from Greek athyros meaning doorless in reference to the slowly opening hinged indusia (spore covers).  Specific epithet comes from Latin filix meaning fern and femina meaning woman as confirmed by the common name of lady fern.

Easy to grow; vigorous; forms dense clumps; spreads rapidly; protect from strong wind, since fronds are easily broken; prefers shade but will adopt to sun with adequate moisture; erect rhizome. This plant is seldom damaged by deer.

Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'Frizelliae'
Tags:
#deciduous#shade tolerant#full shade#fern#low maintenance#rabbit resistant#well-drained soil
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'Frizelliae'
Tags:
#deciduous#shade tolerant#full shade#fern#low maintenance#rabbit resistant#well-drained soil
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Athyrium
    Species:
    filix-femina
    Family:
    Athyriaceae
    Life Cycle:
    Perennial
    Woody
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Division
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Macaronesia, NW. Africa, Europe to Mongolia
    Distribution:
    northern North America, Europe and Asia
    Particularly Resistant To (Insects/Diseases/Other Problems):
    Deer, Shade, Rabbits
    Dimensions:
    Height: 1 ft. 0 in. - 3 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 2 ft. 0 in. - 3 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Fern
    Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Habit/Form:
    Erect
    Growth Rate:
    Medium
    Maintenance:
    Low
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Dappled Sunlight (Shade through upper canopy all day)
    Deep shade (Less than 2 hours to no direct sunlight)
    Partial Shade (Direct sunlight only part of the day, 2-6 hours)
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Available Space To Plant:
    12 inches-3 feet
    Usda Plant Hardiness Zone:
    5a, 5b, 6a, 6b, 7a, 7b, 8a, 8b, 9a, 9b
  • Leaves:
    Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Leaf Type:
    Fronds
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Rosulate
    Leaf Shape:
    Lanceolate
    Leaf Margin:
    Lobed
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Length:
    > 6 inches
    Leaf Width:
    > 6 inches
    Leaf Description:
    Feathery, erect or ascending, broad, lance-shaped frond, slightly reduced at base; continues to produce new fronds during summer.
  • Stem:
    Stem Color:
    Green
    Red/Burgundy
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Description:
    Stipe and rachis are green or red; stipe is smooth or grooved in front; a few dark brownish scales on stipe
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Woodland
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Deer
    Heavy Shade
    Rabbits