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Dryopteris ludoviciana (Southern woodfern)
Cressler, Alan

Dryopteris ludoviciana

Dryopteris ludoviciana (Kunze) Small

Southern Woodfern, Florida Shieldfern

Dryopteridaceae (Wood Fern Family)



USDA Native Status: L48 (N)

A good groundcover fern for Southeastern shade gardens with oppressively hot summers, high humidity, and heavy, saturated soils, this fern can grow to 4 feet high and as wide.


From the Image Gallery

8 photo(s) available in the Image Gallery

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Fern
Size Notes: Fronds up to about 4 feet long.

Bloom Information

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


USA: AL , AR , FL , GA , LA , MS , NC , SC , TX
Native Distribution: Native to Zone 8
Native Habitat: Moist, humid woodlands of the Southeastern coastal plain

Growing Conditions

Water Use: Medium , High
Light Requirement: Part Shade , Shade
Soil Moisture: Moist , Wet
Soil pH: Acidic (pH<6.8)
Heat Tolerant: yes
Soil Description: Heavy, wet soils
Conditions Comments: Thrives in the high heat of the Southeast, as long as moisture is adequate. Though native to Zone 8, is hardy from Zones 6 to 10.


Use Ornamental: Good groundcover foliage for shade in the hot Southeast
Interesting Foliage: 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:

NPSOT - Native Plant Society of Texas - Fredericksburg, TX
NPSOT - Austin Chapter - Austin, TX
Mt. Cuba Center - Hockessin, DE


Bibref 1620 - Gardening with Native Plants of the South (Reprint Edition) (2009) Wasowski, S. with A. Wasowski

Search More Titles in Bibliography

Web Reference

Webref 38 - Flora of North America (2019) Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, MO & Harvard University Herbaria, Cambridge, MA.
Webref 23 - Southwest Environmental Information Network (2009) SEINet - Arizona Chapter

Additional resources

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


Record Modified: 2023-02-07
Research By: DEW

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