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Fragile Fern Cystopteris fragilis

Other Common Name(s):

Previously known as:

  • Cystopteris dickieana
  • Polypodium fragile L.
Phonetic Spelling
sis-TOP-ter-is FRAJ-ih-liss
Description

This fern is wide-spread across the United States,  It is easy to cultivate; prefers limed soil; compact rhizome; spreading habit; partial to full shade; goes dormant in dry sites but recovers well once rained upon.  Occasionally found in wetlands.

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:
#deciduous#heavy shade#deep shade#shade tolerant#shade garden#fern#wetlands#moist soil#NC native#alkaline soil#deer resistant#rocky soils tolerant
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#deciduous#heavy shade#deep shade#shade tolerant#shade garden#fern#wetlands#moist soil#NC native#alkaline soil#deer resistant#rocky soils tolerant
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Cystopteris
    Species:
    fragilis
    Family:
    Aspleniaceae
    Life Cycle:
    Perennial
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Entire Northern Hemisphere and parts of Southern Hemisphere
    Particularly Resistant To (Insects/Diseases/Other Problems):
    Heavy shade, Deer
    Dimensions:
    Height: 0 ft. 10 in. - 1 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 1 ft. 0 in. - 2 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Fern
    Herbaceous Perennial
    Native Plant
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Broadleaf Evergreen
    Deciduous
    Habit/Form:
    Clumping
  • 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:
    Shallow Rocky
    Soil pH:
    Alkaline (>8.0)
    Neutral (6.0-8.0)
    Soil Drainage:
    Frequent Standing Water
    Occasionally Wet
    Available Space To Plant:
    12 inches-3 feet
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Description:
    No fruits. This plants reproduces via spores.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Description:
    No flowers.
  • Leaves:
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Broadleaf Evergreen
    Deciduous
    Leaf Type:
    Compound (Pinnately , Bipinnately, Palmately)
    Fronds
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Length:
    > 6 inches
    Leaf Description:
    Leaves are long narrowly-pointed, twice pinnate, and have fleshy petioles with round sori on the underside
  • Stem:
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Theme:
    Native Garden
    Shade Garden
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Deer
    Heavy Shade
    Wet Soil