Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center - The University of Texas at Austin information

 Native Plant Database

Athyrium filix-femina ssp. asplenioides

Southern lady fern

Dryopteridaceae (Wood Fern Family)

Athyrium filix-femina ssp. asplenioides (Southern lady fern)
Cressler, Alan

A waist-high, delicate-looking fern for moist-to-wet semi-shade, this is a great fern to use in large-scale, eastern woodland landscapes. It is easy to grow, even aggressive in the right conditions, and requires no more maintenance than preventing it from drying out. Its lime green fiddleheads emerge in the spring and then continue less abundantly through summer and fall. Mature foliage is a refreshing light green.

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Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Fern
Leaf Retention: Deciduous
Leaf Shape: Lanceolate , Ovate
Leaf Apex: Acuminate , Caudate
Size Notes: Normally 18 to 36 inches
Leaf: Light green
Size Class: 3-6 ft.

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: Not Applicable
Bloom Notes: Not a flowering plant. Reproduces by spores.


USA: AL , AR , CT , DE , FL , GA , IL , IN , KS , LA , MD , MA , MS , MO , NJ , NY , NC , OH , OK , PA , RI , SC , TN , TX , VA , WV , DC
Native Distribution: Eastern North America, Zones 6 to 8
Native Habitat: Thickets, Shaded woods, Swamps, Stream, river banks, Acid bogs. Meadows, open thickets, moist woods, and swamps

Growing Conditions

Water Use: Medium , High
Light Requirement: Part Shade
Soil Moisture: Wet , Moist
Soil pH: Acidic (pH<6.8)
Drought Tolerance: Low
Soil Description: Rich, moist to wet, acid to neutral, sandy, sandy loam, medium loam, clay loam, and clay soils
Conditions Comments: Tolerates seasonal flooding but not drought. Also does best in dappled shade to part shade, not so good in deep shade.


Use Ornamental: Ground cover, Bog or pond area, Water garden, Accent plant, Woodland landscape
Use Wildlife: Provides cover for Woodhouse Toads and anoles
Interesting Foliage: yes

Last Update: 2014-07-18