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Dryopteris intermedia (Intermediate woodfern)
Brundage, Stephanie

Dryopteris intermedia

Dryopteris intermedia (Muhl. ex Willd.) A. Gray

Intermediate Woodfern, Evergreen Wood-fern, Fancy Wood Fern

Dryopteridaceae (Wood Fern Family)

Synonym(s): Dryopteris austriaca var. intermedia, Dryopteris spinulosa var. concordiana, Dryopteris spinulosa var. intermedia

USDA Symbol: DRIN5

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

This evergreen fern is vase shaped with long (up to 10 inches), lacy foliage. A good choice for deep shade.

The extreme variability of size and colour may make it confusing to identify. In addition, it sometimes grows mixed with D. carthusiana in some areas (Ferns of Grey and Bruce Counties).


From the Image Gallery

6 photo(s) available in the Image Gallery

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Herb , Fern
Leaf Retention: Evergreen
Leaf Complexity: Bipinnate
Leaf Shape: Ovate
Leaf Texture: Leathery
Leaf: Green usually through winter. Sometimes dying back in winter.

Bloom Information

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


USA: AL , CT , DC , DE , GA , IA , IL , IN , KY , MA , MD , ME , MI , MN , MO , NC , NH , NJ , NY , OH , PA , RI , SC , TN , VA , VT , WI , WV
Canada: NB , NL , NS , ON , PE , QC
Native Habitat: Moist rocky woods, especially hemlock hardwoods, ravines, and edges of swamps.

Growing Conditions

Light Requirement: Shade
Soil Moisture: Moist
Soil Description: Organic, Humus Enriched
Conditions Comments: Will grow in rocky soil if moisture requirements are met.


Propagation Material: Clump Division
Seed Collection: Spores mature in mid-summer, are difficult to germinate.
Maintenance: The plant does not spread quickly but can be divided in spring or fall.

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:

Longwood Gardens - Kennett Square, PA
Mt. Cuba Center - Hockessin, DE


Bibref 928 - 100 easy-to-grow native plants for Canadian gardens (2005) Johnson, L.; A. Leyerle
Bibref 1231 - Guide To the Ferns of Grey and Bruce Counties, Ontario (1999) Owen Sound Field Naturalists
Bibref 841 - Native Alternatives to Invasive Plants (2006) Burrell, C. C.

Search More Titles in Bibliography

Additional resources

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


Record Modified: 2021-03-18
Research By: TWC Staff

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