Athyrium filix-femina lady fern

(a-thear' ee-um fee' lix fem' i-nah)

Common name: Lady Fern

Family: Woodsiaceae

Height x width: 2-3' x 1-2'

Growth rate: moderate

Fronds: 2-3' long, 6-9" wide, twice pinnate, pinnae are lanceolate, pinnules are deeply cut; stalks (stipes) are tan, reddish or brownish

Sori: clustered at the pinnule base, curved to horseshoe-shaped, ripen in midsummer

Hardiness: zones 2-9

Soil: prefers fertile woodland, tolerates most

Light: part shade

Pests and Problems: none serious

Landscape habit, uses: background, woodlands massed, watersides; useful for light green contrast and fine texture in combinations

Other interest: native to northern temperate regions; from the Greek athoros meaning good at breeding, refering to the many forms of sori on various species

Other culture: low maintenance

Propagation: spring division, spores


Although usually found as the species, the following of the more than 300 cultivars may also be found in U.S. commerce, with those marked * more common.
Cultivar height fronds  
'Axminster':'Plumosum Axminster'      
'Corymbiferum' 2-3' bunched, heavily crested  
*'Cristatum' 2-3' variable, crested pinnae held flat  
'Cruciatum' 12-18" pinnae forked to form crosses, crested  
'Fieldiae' 30-36" tall, narrow, pinnae paired to form crosses, vigorous  
'Fieldiae Cristatum' 30-36' as above only crested  
*'Frizelliae' 4-8" pinnae form balls along midrib  
'Grandiceps' 20-24" heavily crested pinnae  
'Minutissimum' 4-12" dwarf form of species  
'Plumosum Axminster' 24-30" finely cut, uncrested, introduced in 1980's  
'Rotstiel' ('Red Stemmed'):'Vernonia'      
'Vernonia' 20-24" red-stemmed, deep green  
*'Vernonia Cristata' 20-24" Red-stemmed L.F., frilled, deep green, mahogany stems  
'Victoriae' 30-42" European L.F., narrow, crested pinnae forming crosses  

©Authored by Dr. Leonard Perry, Professor, University of Vermont as part of PSS123 course.

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