Dryopteris marginalis (L.) A. Gray
Marginal Woodfern, Marginal Fern, Marginal Shieldfern
Dryopteridaceae (Wood Fern Family)
USDA Symbol: drma4
The broad, dark, leathery, twice-pinnate, evergreen fronds of marginal wood fern are from 1-3 ft. high and as much as 10 in. wide. They arise in vase-like circles from the rootstock, which has a 1 to 4 inch-high crown and sends out shallow, non-colonizing roots radially. Fiddleheads arise in spring and are golden brown and furry.
A well-behaved, non-colonizing fern for the cool, eastern woodland landscape, this fern never becomes aggressive. In snowy winters, it can be glimpsed protruding through blankets of snow, its blue-green coloration in stately contrast to the surrounding white.
From the Image Gallery
Plant CharacteristicsDuration: Perennial
Leaf Retention: Evergreen
Size Notes: Normally about 20 inches tall, but can reach 3 feet
Leaf: Dark green
Size Class: 1-3 ft.
Bloom InformationBloom Color: Not Applicable
Bloom Notes: Not a flowering plant. Reproduces by spores.
DistributionUSA: AL , AR , CT , DC , DE , GA , IA , IL , IN , KS , KY , MA , MD , ME , MI , MN , MO , MS , NC , NH , NJ , NY , OH , OK , PA , RI , SC , TN , VA , VT , WI , WV
Canada: NB , NL , NS , ON
Native Distribution: New England to e. Ont., s. to GA, TN, AR, e. OK, & e. KS. Eastern North America, Zones 5 to 7.
Native Habitat: Moist woods and ravines; Shaded, sandstone crevices; Rocky ledges
Growing ConditionsWater Use: Medium , High
Light Requirement: Part Shade , Shade
Soil Moisture: Moist
Soil pH: Acidic (pH<6.8)
Soil Description: Moist, rocky, acidic, humus-rich soil. Tolerates lime.
Conditions Comments: This fern likes an oak leaf winter cover. Rather sensitive to heat.
BenefitUse Ornamental: An evergreen, clumping fern for cool eastern woodland landscapes
Use Wildlife: Provides cover for toads and lizards
Interesting Foliage: yes
PropagationPropagation Material: Root Division
Description: Propagate by root crown division and from spores.
Commercially Avail: yes
Mr. Smarty Plants says
Evergreen plants safe for horses in Louisville, Kentucky
May 16, 2010
I have a horse farm in Louisville, Ky. I want to plant evergreen plants along the walls in front of the horse barns. What types of plants are not toxic to horses can I use? Thank you so much for all y...
view the full question and answer
Evergreen screening shrubs for New York
May 27, 2008
I need evergreen screening shrubs that aren't too deep. The shrubs are to be planted along an existing wrought iron fence, which is a few feet behind a children's swing set.
view the full question and answer
National Wetland Indicator Status
From the National Suppliers DirectoryAccording to the inventory provided by Associate Suppliers, this plant is available at the following locations:
Edge of the Woods Native Plant Nursery - Orefield, PA
ArcheWild Native Nurseries - Quakertown, PA
Prairie Nursery - Westfield, WI
Yellow Springs Farm Native Plant Nursery - Chester Springs , PA
From the National Organizations DirectoryAccording to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is on display at the following locations:
Native Plant Center at Westchester Community College, The - Valhalla, NY
Texas Discovery Gardens - Dallas, TX
Delaware Nature Society - Hockessin, DE
Stengl Biological Research Station - Smithville, TX
Mt. Cuba Center - Hockessin, DE
BibliographyBibref 1620 - Gardening with Native Plants of the South (Reprint Edition) (2009) Wasowski, S. with A. Wasowski
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 resourcesUSDA: Find Dryopteris marginalis in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Dryopteris marginalis in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Dryopteris marginalis
MetadataRecord Modified: 2013-09-09
Research By: TWC Staff