Host an Event Volunteer Join Tickets

Support the plant database you love!


Plant Database

Search for native plants by scientific name, common name or family. If you are not sure what you are looking for, try the Combination Search or our Recommended Species lists.

Enter a Plant Name:
Or you can choose a plant family:
Athyrium filix-femina ssp. asplenioides (Southern lady fern)
Cressler, Alan

Athyrium filix-femina ssp. asplenioides

Athyrium filix-femina (L.) Roth ssp. asplenioides (Michx.) Hultén

Southern Lady Fern

Dryopteridaceae (Wood Fern Family)

Synonym(s): Athyrium asplenioides, Athyrium filix-femina var. asplenioides

USDA Symbol: atfia2

USDA Native Status: L48 (N)

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.


From the Image Gallery

8 photo(s) available in the Image Gallery

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Fern
Leaf Retention: Deciduous
Leaf Shape: Lanceolate , Ovate
Leaf Apex: Acuminate , Caudate
Size Notes: Up to about 3 feet tall.
Leaf: Light green

Bloom Information

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


USA: 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

Growing Conditions

Water 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.


Use 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


Propagation 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.

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.


Bibref 1620 - Gardening with Native Plants of the South (Reprint Edition) (2009) Wasowski, S. with A. Wasowski
Bibref 318 - Native Texas Plants: Landscaping Region by Region (2002) Wasowski, S. & 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 Athyrium filix-femina ssp. asplenioides in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Athyrium filix-femina ssp. asplenioides in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Athyrium filix-femina ssp. asplenioides


Record Modified: 2022-11-23
Research By: TWC Staff

Go back