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Blechnum spicant (Deer fern)
Loughmiller, Campbell and Lynn

Blechnum spicant

Blechnum spicant (L.) Sm.

Deer Fern

Blechnaceae (Chain fern Family)

Synonym(s): Blechnum spicant ssp. nipponicum, Blechnum spicant var. elongatum, Lomaria spicant, Osmunda spicant, Struthiopteris spicant

USDA Symbol: blsp

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

A 1-2 ft., evergreen fern with several fronds from a basal tuft. The fronds are of two types: the outer, sterile fronds with broader pinnae surrounding a few fertile fronds. Each cluster of fronds arises from a short, creeping, woody rhizome.


From the Image Gallery

1 photo(s) available in the Image Gallery

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Herb , Fern
Leaf Retention: Evergreen
Size Notes: Up to about 2 feet tall. Fronds up to about 4 feet long.
Leaf: Dark Green

Bloom Information

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


USA: AK , CA , ID , OR , WA
Canada: BC
Native Distribution: Interruptedly circumboreal, s. in America in from coastal AK to c. CA; also n. ID
Native Habitat: Moist or wet, dense woods

Growing Conditions

Water Use: High
Light Requirement: Part Shade , Shade
Soil Moisture: Moist , Wet
CaCO3 Tolerance: Medium
Drought Tolerance: High
Soil Description: Moist soils.
Conditions Comments: A common fern in the wild that is very tractable in the garden.

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:

Santa Barbara Botanic Garden - Santa Barbara, CA


Bibref 928 - 100 easy-to-grow native plants for Canadian gardens (2005) Johnson, L.; A. Leyerle

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


Record Modified: 2022-12-14
Research By: TWC Staff

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