Spreading Wood Fern is perhaps the least common of native ferns in the garden setting - though extremely beautiful! Like Lady Fern, Spreading Wood Fern is deciduous; emerging each spring it grows 2-3 foot long, deeply divided lacey fronds with dramatically tapered tips, before dying back each fall.
- Plant type/canopy layer: deciduous perennial fern
- Size at maturity: 0-2' high, 1-3' wide
- Light requirements: full shade, part sun / part shade
- Moisture requirements: moist soil
- Bloom Time: n/a
- Growth rate/ease: moderate growth rate, easy to grow
- Wildlife support: supports hummingbirds
- Native habitat/range: Generally found in cool forests or rocky slopes up to 2100 meters across most of western OR, north into WA, south into CA, as well as areas of northeastern North America, Eurasia, and Greenland. Portland Plant List - yes.
- Special features & uses: supports hummingbirds, rootstock is edible
Gardening with Spreading Wood Fern: Tuck this fern into your rotting nurse logs or shaded water feature or other low-light areas of your garden that are rich in organic matter and moist year-round. Like other ferns, it is deer resistant and can provide a lush cover on the forest floor.
Photo Credit 1: "Dryopteris expansa" by Joan Simon is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0
Photo Credit 2: "Dryopteris expansa" by Joan Simon is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0