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Dixie Wood Fern Dryopteris australis

Previously known as:

  • Dryopteris clintoniana
  • Dryopteris cristata
Phonetic Spelling
dry-OP-ter-iss BY au-STRAY-lis
Description

Dixie Wood Fern is a naturally occurring mostly sterile hybrid fern that is becoming increasingly rare in its native habitat, the southeastern United States. It is a cross between D. celsa x D. ludoviciana.  It tolerates the dry summers under the canopy of forests and wet sites of swampier areas. This fern is attractive with arching fronds and clump-forming with short rhizomes. It prefers shade to part shade in rich moist humusy soils.

Use in a woodland setting, along streams or ponds or a rain garden.

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

More information on Dryopteris.

Profile Video:
See this plant in the following landscape:
Sun to Shade Garden
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#evergreen#rain garden#heavy shade#semi-evergreen#deep shade#shade tolerant#native perennial#shade garden#showy leaves#fern#wet sites#pond margins#NC native#spreading#deer resistant#native fern#food source summer#food source herbage#Coastal FACW#Piedmont Mountains FACW#dry soils tolerant#streams#woodlands
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#evergreen#rain garden#heavy shade#semi-evergreen#deep shade#shade tolerant#native perennial#shade garden#showy leaves#fern#wet sites#pond margins#NC native#spreading#deer resistant#native fern#food source summer#food source herbage#Coastal FACW#Piedmont Mountains FACW#dry soils tolerant#streams#woodlands
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Dryopteris
    Species:
    australis
    Family:
    Dryopteridaceae
    Life Cycle:
    Perennial
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Division
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    SE USA
    Distribution:
    Virginia south to Louisiana.
    Particularly Resistant To (Insects/Diseases/Other Problems):
    Heavy Shade, This plant is seldom damaged by deer.
    Dimensions:
    Height: 4 ft. 0 in. - 5 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 2 ft. 0 in. - 3 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Fern
    Native Plant
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Semi-evergreen
    Habit/Form:
    Clumping
    Creeping
    Erect
    Vase
    Growth Rate:
    Medium
    Maintenance:
    Low
    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:
    Clay
    High Organic Matter
    Loam (Silt)
    Soil pH:
    Acid (<6.0)
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Moist
    Occasionally Dry
    Occasionally Wet
    Available Space To Plant:
    12 inches-3 feet
    3 feet-6 feet
    NC Region:
    Coastal
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    5a, 5b, 6b, 6a, 7a, 7b, 8a, 8b, 9b, 9a
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Description:
    No fruits. This plants reproduces via spores.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Description:
    No flowers.
  • Leaves:
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Semi-evergreen
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Leaf Feel:
    Glossy
    Soft
    Leaf Value To Gardener:
    Showy
    Deciduous Leaf Fall Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Leaf Type:
    Compound (Pinnately , Bipinnately, Palmately)
    Fronds
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Alternate
    Other/more complex
    Leaf Shape:
    Lanceolate
    Leaf Margin:
    Crenate
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Length:
    > 6 inches
    Leaf Width:
    > 6 inches
    Leaf Description:
    Slender, lustrous, dark green fronds. The fertile terminal quarter of the frond has smaller segments and does not produce viable spores. Bipinnate with alternating bright green leaflets grow 4-5' tall.
  • Stem:
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Naturalized Area
    Near Septic
    Pond
    Riparian
    Woodland
    Landscape Theme:
    Native Garden
    Rain Garden
    Shade Garden
    Winter Garden
    Design Feature:
    Accent
    Border
    Mass Planting
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Dry Soil
    Heavy Shade
    Wet Soil