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Gymnocarpium dryopteris (Northern oak fern) | NPIN

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Gymnocarpium dryopteris

Gymnocarpium dryopteris (L.) Newman

Northern oak fern, Western oakfern

Dryopteridaceae (Wood Indies-Almond Family)

Synonym(s): Dryopteris dryopteris, Dryopteris linnaeana, Phegopteris dryopteris, Thelypteris dryopteris


USDA Native Status: L48 (N), AK (N), CAN (N), GL (N), SPM (N)

This small colony-forming, woodland fern grows 6-10 in. Its delicate fronds are triangular in outline and divided into deeply cut threes.


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Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Herb , Fern
Leaf Retention: Evergreen
Size Class: 0-1 ft.

Bloom Information

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


USA: AK , AZ , CO , CT , IA , ID , IL , MA , MD , ME , MI , MN , MT , ND , NH , NJ , NM , NY , OH , OR , PA , RI , SD , UT , VT , WA , WI , WV , WY
Canada: BC , NB , NL , NS , ON , PE
Native Distribution: Circumboreal, s. to upland VA, IA, NM, AZ & OR
Native Habitat: Cool, mossy or rocky woods & stream banks

Growing Conditions

Light Requirement: Sun , Shade
Soil Moisture: Moist
Soil Description: Moist, rich soils.
Conditions Comments: This is an excellent ground cover for moist, shaded places. It spreads quickly and is easy to establish and maintain. Dies down in fall.


Description: Most easily propagated from rhizome pieces.
Seed Collection: Not Available
Seed Treatment: Not Available
Commercially Avail: yes

Find Seed or Plants

View propagation protocol from Native Plants Network.

From the National Suppliers Directory

According to the inventory provided by Associate Suppliers, this plant is available at the following locations:

Prairie Nursery - Westfield, WI

From the National Organizations Directory

According to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is on display at the following locations:

Mt. Cuba Center - Hockessin, DE

Recommended Species Lists

Find native plant species by state. Each list contains commercially available species suitable for gardens and planned landscapes. Once you have selected a collection, you can browse the collection or search within it using the combination search.

View Recommended Species page

Additional resources

USDA: Find Gymnocarpium dryopteris in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Gymnocarpium dryopteris in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Gymnocarpium dryopteris


Record Modified: 2007-01-01
Research By: TWC Staff

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