Aspleniaceae (Spleenwort Family)
Sterile and fertile fronds are entirely different in appearance and habit. Sterile fronds are only 2-6 in. long, have short, blunt, alternate pinnae,
and are evergreen. Fertile fronds are 1-2 ft. long, erect-arching, and bear short, alternate pinnae
below and longer, opposite pinnae
above. Fronds occur in loose clusters, arising from the clumping rootstock. Colonizing roots are black and wiry.
The word, ebony, refers to the fact that the stalk turns a shining black with age.
Image Gallery: 5 photo(s) available
Plant CharacteristicsDuration: Perennial Habit: Fern Leaf Retention: Evergreen Size Notes:
Normally 12 to 18 inches high Leaf:
Fertile leaves dark green. Infertile leaves paler. Flower:
Fruit: Size Class:
Bloom InformationBloom Color: Not Applicable
Bloom Notes: Not a flowering plant. Reproduces by spores.
, DC Canada: ON Native Distribution:
Ontario and ME
to s. MN
& s.e. CO,
s. to FL
& TX. North America east of the Rockies, Zones 5 to 9. Also southern Africa. Native Habitat:
Moist, shaded spaces between rocks; old fields; sandy pinelands; thickets; roadsides
Growing ConditionsWater Use:
Medium Light Requirement:
Part Shade , Shade Soil Moisture:
Moist Soil pH:
Alkaline (pH>7.2) , Acidic (pH<6.8) , Circumneutral (pH 6.8-7.2) Soil Description:
Gravelly, slightly acid, well-drained soils. Sandy, Sandy Loam, Medium Loam, Limestone-based. Grows well in acid or alkaline soils. Conditions Comments:
One of the most drought-tolerant ferns, this fern
also takes more sun than many, provided its kept moist enough. Must have good drainage, and does not tolerate flooding. Will need extra water in dry areas to make a ground cover, and even then will only cover loosely.
BenefitUse Ornamental: Good for light, airy cover in drier areas than most ferns can handle.
Interesting Foliage: yes