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Cystopteris bulbifera (Bulblet bladder fern)
Cressler, Alan

Cystopteris bulbifera

Cystopteris bulbifera (L.) Bernh.

Bulblet Bladder Fern

Dryopteridaceae (Wood Fern Family)

Synonym(s): Filix bulbifera

USDA Symbol: CYBU3

USDA Native Status: L48 (N), CAN (N)

This is a graceful, rock-loving fern with long (to 48 in.), slender, recumbent, light-green fronds which taper to a point. Bulblets, which form on the undersides of the fronds, begin as microscopic dots, eventually growing to 1/2 in., by which time they are producing delicate young fronds of their own.


From the Image Gallery

7 photo(s) available in the Image Gallery

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Herb , Fern
Leaf Retention: Evergreen
Size Notes: Fronds up to about 4 feet long.

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: Not Applicable
Bloom Notes: Non-flowering, sporulating plant. Sporulates Jun - Sep.


USA: AL , AR , AZ , CT , DE , GA , IA , IL , IN , KY , MA , MD , ME , MI , MN , MO , NC , NE , NH , NJ , NM , NY , OH , OK , PA , RI , SC , SD , TN , TX , UT , VA , VT , WI , WV
Canada: NB , NL , NS , ON
Native Distribution: Nf. to Man., s. to GA, AR & AZ
Native Habitat: Moist, shaded ledges; cliffs; dry, rocky slopes

Growing Conditions

Light Requirement: Shade
Soil Moisture: Moist
Soil pH: Circumneutral (pH 6.8-7.2)
Soil Description: Slightly basic, moist, humus-rich soil.
Conditions Comments: A suitable location may be prepared for this species by burying numerous limestone fragments in nearly neutral, humus-rich soil in low, moist, heavily shaded areas. This is a very fast growing fern.


Description: Bulblets, borne on the underside of the pinnae, drop from the fronds and under favorable conditions quickly develop new plants. The slender, creeping rootstocks may be divided.
Commercially Avail: yes

National Wetland Indicator Status

This information is derived from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers National Wetland Plant List, Version 3.1 (Lichvar, R.W. 2013. The National Wetland Plant List: 2013 wetland ratings. Phytoneuron 2013-49: 1-241). Click here for map of regions.

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

Additional resources

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


Record Modified: 2016-02-04
Research By: TWC Staff

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