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Bulblet Fern Cystopteris bulbifera

Other Common Name(s):

Phonetic Spelling
sis-TOP-ter-is bulb-EE-fer-uh
Description

Bulblet Fern is a native deciduous plant in the wood fern family.  It is found in Canada and across the middle and eastern parts of the U.S.A. in moist areas below 1500 m in elevation.  It grows in rosettes and the fronds are ascending to widely spreading. The bulblets on the undersides of fertile fronds fall to the ground to form new plants in addition to have sori that get dispersed by the wind. This is the only fern that forms bulblets.

It grows 1-2 feet tall and wide and prefers partial shade to shade in moist, humusy rocky limestone soils in a humid protected environment. It can be found growing near mossy stone walls, clifts and boulders. Use this plant in a woodland setting and provide consistent moisture.

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

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Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#heavy shade#deep shade#shade tolerant#shade garden#fern#NC native#deer resistant#woodland#native fern#food source summer#food source herbage#coastal FAC#Piedmont Mountains FAC#mammals#audubon
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#heavy shade#deep shade#shade tolerant#shade garden#fern#NC native#deer resistant#woodland#native fern#food source summer#food source herbage#coastal FAC#Piedmont Mountains FAC#mammals#audubon
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Cystopteris
    Species:
    bulbifera
    Family:
    Aspleniaceae
    Life Cycle:
    Perennial
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Division
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Canada, U.S.A.
    Distribution:
    AL , AR , AZ , CT , DE , GA , IA , IL , IN , KY , MA , MD , ME , MI , MN , MO , NC , NE , NH , NJ , NM , NY , OH , OK , PA , RI , SC , SD , TN , TX , UT , VA , VT , WI , WV
    Particularly Resistant To (Insects/Diseases/Other Problems):
    Heavy shade, Deer
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Fern
    Native Plant
    Habit/Form:
    Arching
    Erect
    Maintenance:
    Medium
  • 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 Texture:
    High Organic Matter
    Loam (Silt)
    Shallow Rocky
    Soil pH:
    Neutral (6.0-8.0)
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Moist
    NC Region:
    Mountains
    Piedmont
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Description:
    No fruits. This plants reproduces via spores.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Description:
    No flowers.
  • Leaves:
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Leaf Value To Gardener:
    Long-lasting
    Showy
    Leaf Type:
    Compound (Pinnately , Bipinnately, Palmately)
    Fronds
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Description:
    The compound frond is widest at the base and the tip is long and slender. It can grow 1- 2 feet long. There are 10-25 pairs of nearly sessile leaflets that have 5-15 pairs of subleaflets. Each leaflet is lanceolate to lanceolate-deltoid. The subleaflets have serrated margins. Sori appear on the fertile fronds on each subleaflet. A round green bulblet may form at the base of some leaflets on the undersides. They may fall to the ground and form a new plant.
  • Stem:
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Woodland
    Landscape Theme:
    Native Garden
    Shade Garden
    Attracts:
    Small Mammals
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Deer
    Heavy Shade