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Thelypteris noveboracensis (New york fern)
Wasowski, Sally and Andy

Thelypteris noveboracensis

Thelypteris noveboracensis (L.) Nieuwl.

New York Fern, Tapering Fern

Thelypteridaceae (Marsh Fern Family)

Synonym(s): Dryopteris noveboracensis, Parathelypteris noveboracensis, Polypodium noveboracense, Thelypteris thelypterioides

USDA Symbol: thno

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

New York fern is a soft, deciduous, yellow-green fern which stands 1-2 ft. high. The frond has a maximum width of 4 in., tapering gradually to both top and bottom. The twice-cut, thin foliage gives a rather fine texture and translucent quality to the fern. Fronds emerge singly or in small clusters.

Creeping rootstocks send up fronds, sometimes forming a dense ground cover. Multiplication is very rapid from shallow, black, wiry roots, and its dense colonies can crowd out other plants, though it is less aggressive in the southern reaches of its range. It makes a good companion for spring ephemerals, covering the gaps they leave in the woodland garden.


From the Image Gallery

7 photo(s) available in the Image Gallery

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Fern
Leaf Retention: Evergreen
Size Notes: Normally 12 to 18 inches, but can reach 2 feet tall.
Leaf: Yellow-Green

Bloom Information

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


USA: AL , AR , CT , DC , DE , GA , IL , IN , KY , LA , MA , MD , ME , MI , MS , NC , NH , NJ , NY , OH , OK , PA , RI , SC , TN , VA , VT , WV
Canada: NB , NL , NS , ON , PE
Native Distribution: Newfoundland to s. Ont., MI & n. IL, s. to Long Island, GA, LA & AR, Zones 5 to 7
Native Habitat: Moist or dry, humus-rich, deciduous woods

Growing Conditions

Water Use: Low , Medium
Light Requirement: Part Shade , Shade
Soil Moisture: Moist
Soil pH: Acidic (pH<6.8)
CaCO3 Tolerance: Low
Soil Description: Humus-rich, somewhat acid soil. Rocky okay.
Conditions Comments: Will spread less, but survive in dry conditions.


Use Ornamental: Foliage groundcover for shady woodland gardens in eastern North America
Use Wildlife: Provides shelter for toads
Interesting Foliage: yes


Propagation Material: Root Division
Description: Propagation by rhizome division or spores.
Commercially Avail: yes
Maintenance: Reduce and separate if becomes too aggressive for your tastes.

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:

Delaware Nature Society - Hockessin, DE
Mt. Cuba Center - Hockessin, DE


Bibref 928 - 100 easy-to-grow native plants for Canadian gardens (2005) Johnson, L.; A. Leyerle
Bibref 1620 - Gardening with Native Plants of the South (Reprint Edition) (2009) Wasowski, S. with A. Wasowski
Bibref 841 - Native Alternatives to Invasive Plants (2006) Burrell, C. C.

Search More Titles in Bibliography

Additional resources

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


Record Modified: 2013-09-09
Research By: TWC Staff

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