Athyrium filix-femina (Lady Fern)

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Plant Description: This plant is a large deciduous perennial. The plant starts from a stout rhizome and forms a vase-like cluster with fragile, scaly, old stalks at the base. Foliage is lacy and soft; and forms lush, intricate thickets during the growing season. Leaves are pinnately branched, bearing 2-3, broad, lance-shaped leaflets (pinna). Each leaflet is composed of 20-40 pairs of lobed segments (pinnules) which become gradually smaller toward both ends of the leafstalk. The leaves are excellent for bouquets. 

  • Height: 2-6.5ft
  • Width: 2-10ft
  • Watering needs: regular
  • Sun needs: part to full shade
  • Soil needs: moist to wet
  • Portland Plant List (Backyard Habitat Certification): Yes

Landscape Use and Ecological Function: This Willamette Valley native is widespread across North America, at low to subalpine elevations. It is found in moist to wet forests, thickets, streambanks, meadows and openings. We recommend using this plant in woodland gardens as it provides habitat for wildlife and combats soil erosion. 

Growing Conditions: Lady ferns enjoy partial to full shade, and moist to wet soils. This plant is sometimes considered aggressive, as it might spread to unwanted sites, but will be welcome in the right environment.

*Photo by SevenOaks Nursery*

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