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Wasowski, Sally and Andy
Athyrium filix-femina ssp. asplenioides (Michx.) HultÚn
Southern lady fern
Synonyms: Athyrium asplenioides, Athyrium filix-femina var. asplenioides
USDA Symbol: atfia2
USDA Native Status: Native to U.S.
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.
Plant CharacteristicsDuration: Perennial Habit: Fern Leaf Retention: Deciduous Size Notes:
Normally 18 to 36 inches Leaf:
Light green Flower:
Fruit: Size Class:
Bloom InformationBloom Color: Not Applicable
Bloom Notes: Not a flowering plant. Reproduces by spores.
AL , AR , CT , DC , DE , FL , GA , IL , IN , KS , LA , MA , MD , MO , MS , NC , NJ , NY , OH , OK , PA , RI , SC , TN , TX , VA , WV 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 USDA Native Status: L48(N)
Growing ConditionsWater Use: Medium , High
Light Requirement: Part Shade
Soil Moisture: Moist , Wet
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.
BenefitUse 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
PropagationPropagation Material: Root Division
Maintenance: Like many woodland ferns, can colonize aggressively by rhizomes in the right conditions. If it gets too dense and aggressive for your space, thin out and reduce. Water when fronds begin to turn brown.
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Record Modified: 2009-02-10
Research By: TWC Staff