Plant DetailShow Menu

Hard Fern Blechnum spicant

Other Common Name(s):

Phonetic Spelling
BLECK-num SPIK-ant
Description

Deer Fern is an evergreen fern with ascending rhizomes that spread slowly, although it can also be propagated by division in the Spring. Deer Fern is native to Europe, spreading east as far as Japan, and Northwestern North America from Alaska, British Columbia, and south to Idaho, Oregon, and northern California. It is typically found growing along the coast in woods, heaths, moors, mountain grassland and on rocks. It is winter hardy and resistant to damage from deer and rabbits. This fern is unusual in that it produces two types of fronds; sterile evergreen fronds that are replaced late in the season by taller fertile fronds growing out of the center of the sterile fronds. The genus name, blechnum, comes from the classical Greek name for a fern.

Deer Fern prefers acidic, humus-rich moist soil with good drainage and is partial to full shade. It will tolerate poor soil and heavy clay as well as shady sites with adequate moisture. It would be useful as a ground cover in a shady site.

Diseases, Insect Pests, and Other Plant Problems:

No known diseases or insect pests. However, leaf spot and rust can sometimes occur.

VIDEO Created by NC State Extension's Homegrown series featuring Mark Weathington, Director of JC Raulston Arboretum.

Profile Video:
See this plant in the following landscape:
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#evergreen#shade garden#fronds#fern#rabbit resistant#rich soils#deer resistant#acidic soils tolerant#partial shade tolerant#heavy shade tolerant
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#evergreen#shade garden#fronds#fern#rabbit resistant#rich soils#deer resistant#acidic soils tolerant#partial shade tolerant#heavy shade tolerant
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Blechnum
    Species:
    spicant
    Family:
    Aspleniaceae
    Life Cycle:
    Perennial
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Division
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Northwest Africa, Europe to Iran, Japan.
    Distribution:
    Southern Alaska through Canada and western United States.
    Particularly Resistant To (Insects/Diseases/Other Problems):
    Heavy shade, Deer
    Dimensions:
    Height: 0 ft. 9 in. - 1 ft. 6 in.
    Width: 1 ft. 0 in. - 2 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Fern
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Broadleaf Evergreen
    Habit/Form:
    Ascending
    Erect
    Growth Rate:
    Slow
    Maintenance:
    Low
    Texture:
    Coarse
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Deep shade (Less than 2 hours to no direct sunlight)
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
    Partial Shade (Direct sunlight only part of the day, 2-6 hours)
    Soil Texture:
    Clay
    High Organic Matter
    Loam (Silt)
    Sand
    Soil pH:
    Acid (<6.0)
    Neutral (6.0-8.0)
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Moist
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    4a, 4b, 5b, 5a, 6a, 6b, 7b, 7a, 8b, 8a
  • Fruit:
    Display/Harvest Time:
    Summer
    Fruit Description:
    No fruits. This plant reproduces by means of spores.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Description:
    No flowers; fertilized through spores.
  • Leaves:
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Broadleaf Evergreen
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Leaf Feel:
    Leathery
    Leaf Value To Gardener:
    Showy
    Leaf Type:
    Compound (Pinnately , Bipinnately, Palmately)
    Fronds
    Leaf Shape:
    Lanceolate
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Length:
    > 6 inches
    Leaf Width:
    1-3 inches
    Leaf Description:
    This plant has a green, lance-shaped rosette that is pinnatifid, feels stiff and leathery, and arises in a vase-shaped clump. These fronds can be as long as 24 inches or as short as 8 inches. The fronds initially form a loose, flat rosette that is sterile. Later, fertile fronds 16 to 24 inches high emerge vertically from the rosette. They are similar to the sterile ones but taller, with much thinner and widely separated leaflets. Fertile fronds turn brown and wither by the end of the summer, leaving the evergreen sterile rosette.
  • Stem:
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Description:
    Stems slender, short-creeping or ascending, not climbing.
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Woodland
    Landscape Theme:
    Rock Garden
    Shade Garden
    Design Feature:
    Border
    Mass Planting
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Deer
    Heavy Shade
    Rabbits