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

 Native Plant Database

Dryopteris cristata

Crested woodfern, Crested wood fern, Buckler fern

Dryopteridaceae (Wood Fern Family)

Dryopteris cristata (Crested woodfern)
Cressler, Alan
The narrowly oval and twice pinnate fronds of crested wood fern spring in loose clusters. The 12-36 in. fertile fronds are larger than the infertile ones and only the latter are evergreen.

This fern is not fully evergreen as the fertile fronds become relaxed at the base and fall over, although the sterile fronds remain green through the winter. (Ferns of Grey and Bruce Counties)

Image Gallery:

2 photo(s) available

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Herb , Fern
Leaf Retention: Evergreen
Leaf: Dark Green
Size Class: 1-3 ft.

Bloom Information

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


USA: AL , CT , DE , GA , ID , IL , IN , IA , ME , MD , MA , MI , MN , MO , MT , NE , NH , NJ , NY , NC , ND , OH , PA , RI , TN , VT , VA , WA , WV , WI , DC
Canada: NB , NL , NS , ON , PE
Native Distribution: Nf. to Sask., s. to NC, TN, n. IL, IA , ND, n.w. MT & n. ID
Native Habitat: Wet woods; swampy thickets

Growing Conditions

Water Use: High
Light Requirement: Sun , Part Shade , Shade
Soil Moisture: Moist
Soil pH: Acidic (pH<6.8)
CaCO3 Tolerance: High
Soil Description: Mucky, moderately acid soils.
Conditions Comments: Though this fern prefers wet sites, it will tolerate much less moisture. Requires very little care.

Last Update: 2015-07-15