Plant DetailShow Menu

Bulblet Cystopteris Cystopteris bulbifera

Previously known as:

  • Filix bulbifera
Phonetic Spelling
sis-TOP-ter-is bulb-EE-fer-uh
This plant is an invasive species in North Carolina
Description

The native Bulblet Bladder Fern is a native deciduous plant in the wood fern family.  Growing from a rhizome, 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. Its natural habitat includes shaded ledges, stream banks, roadsides, cliffs and rocky slopes. 

It grows in the form of rosettes with fronds that 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 (a cluster of structures that produce and contain spores) that get dispersed by the wind. This is the only fern that will establish 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, cliffs 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.

Quick ID Hints: 

  •      Bulblets on the underside of the leaves
  •      Its compound leaves are widest at or near the base.
  •      The tips of the leaves are long and slender
  •      Lateral veins of the subleaflets extend to the sinuses

 

 

 

Profile Video:
See this plant in the following landscape:
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#evergreen#deciduous#native perennials#shade garden#fern#NC native#deer resistant#colonies#native fern#food source summer#evergreen ferns#food source herbage#Coastal FAC#Piedmont Mountains FAC#mammals#Audubon#colonizing#heavy shade tolerant#woodland garden#native#perennial fern#colony
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#evergreen#deciduous#native perennials#shade garden#fern#NC native#deer resistant#colonies#native fern#food source summer#evergreen ferns#food source herbage#Coastal FAC#Piedmont Mountains FAC#mammals#Audubon#colonizing#heavy shade tolerant#woodland garden#native#perennial fern#colony
  • 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
    Play Value:
    Easy to Grow
    Shade
    Particularly Resistant To (Insects/Diseases/Other Problems):
    Heavy shade, Deer
    Dimensions:
    Height: 1 ft. 0 in. - 2 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 1 ft. 0 in. - 2 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Fern
    Native Plant
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Habit/Form:
    Arching
    Ascending
    Erect
    Spreading
    Growth Rate:
    Rapid
    Maintenance:
    Medium
    Texture:
    Fine
  • 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
    Available Space To Plant:
    12 inches-3 feet
    NC Region:
    Mountains
    Piedmont
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    4a, 4b, 5b, 5a, 6a, 6b, 7a, 7b, 8b, 8a
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Description:
    No fruits. This plants reproduces via spores.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Fall
    Summer
    Flower Description:
    No flowers. It will reproduce by spores from June through September.
  • Leaves:
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Leaf Feel:
    Soft
    Leaf Value To Gardener:
    Long-lasting
    Showy
    Leaf Type:
    Compound (Pinnately , Bipinnately, Palmately)
    Fronds
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Other/more complex
    Leaf Shape:
    Palmatifid
    Pinnatifid
    Leaf Margin:
    Serrate
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Length:
    > 6 inches
    Leaf Width:
    3-6 inches
    Leaf Description:
    The compound frond that can be up to 2' long is widest at the base while the tip is long and slender. There are 10-25 pairs of nearly sessile leaflets that have 5-15 pairs of subleaflets up to 6" long. 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 Color:
    Gold/Yellow
    Green
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Naturalized Area
    Woodland
    Landscape Theme:
    Native Garden
    Rock Garden
    Shade Garden
    Attracts:
    Small Mammals
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Deer
    Heavy Shade
    Problems:
    Invasive Species