Rent Shop Volunteer Join

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions

Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.

 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Monday - August 04, 2008

From: Thornton, PA
Region: Mid-Atlantic
Topic: Ferns
Title: Identity of fern-like plant in woodland garden
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

what is the fern-like, hairy fleshy-stemmed, 12"-18" ht plant in my woodland garden

ANSWER:

You can find native ferns that grow in Pennsylvania by doing a Combination Search in our Native Plant Database. First, choose 'Pennsylvania' from the Select State or Province option, then select 'Fern' from Habit (general appearance).

Additionally, here are four native possibilities that aren't ferns but that sound a bit like the plant you describe:

Equisetum arvense (field horsetail)

Lycopodium digitatum (fan clubmoss) with more photos

Maianthemum racemosum ssp. racemosum (feathery false lily of the valley)

Streptopus lanceolatus var. roseus (twistedstalk)

Of course, it is always possible that it isn't a native plant and, thus, wouldn't be in our Native Plant Database.  If it isn't one of these listed above or one of the native ferns, please send us photos and we will do our best to identify it. Please visit the Ask Mr. Smarty Plants page to read instructions (under "Plant Identification") for submitting photos.

 

From the Image Gallery


Field horsetail
Equisetum arvense

Fan clubmoss
Lycopodium digitatum

Feathery false lily of the valley
Maianthemum racemosum ssp. racemosum

Twistedstalk
Streptopus lanceolatus var. roseus

More Ferns Questions

Short or mowable plant for walkway
June 03, 2008 - I'd like a short and/or mowable plant to use as a walkway in and around a vegetable garden in upstate NY. I was planning on clover, but I want to use a native plant if possible. The native clovers ...
view the full question and answer

Dieback of river fern and maidenhair fern in the Texas summer
August 28, 2015 - My river fern and maiden hair fern are dying back. I know it is hot, but they are in shade and watered regularly. The river fern is dying back from the tips. Any fungus or bugs I should be looking ...
view the full question and answer

Native plants for memorial garden in Michigan
March 04, 2008 - I want to start a memorial garden for my daughter. I live in northern Michigan and the area has very tall white pines we have pruned them up about 15' so the area does get partial sun. Which plants w...
view the full question and answer

Plant identification from Virginia
May 03, 2012 - We found lots of asparagus like stalks growing randomly in our field here in central Virginia. But, instead of an asparagus head it has a tight cluster of leaves that are small and roundish. Any idea...
view the full question and answer

Plants to grow in shady sand in Florida
March 31, 2013 - We live in central Florida (directly between Orlando and Tampa). Our yard is mostly sand for soil and difficult parts in shade almost all day from large trees. What ground cover (grass) and hedges can...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.