Dryopteris (Wood ferns, Male ferns, Buckler's fern)
is a genus of ferns in the family Dryopteridaceae, comprising about 250 species. Dryopteris has the highest species diversity in eastern Asia, and can be found throughout the temperate Northern Hemisphere.
Dryopteris species are deciduous, robust and vigorous, providing large clumps of greenery in the garden. Many Dryopteris species are ornamental plants, especially D. erythrosora
(Autumn fern) and D. filix-mas
, which is a popular garden fern in the British Isles and Europe.
(Autumn Fern, Japanese Wood Fern or Japanese Shield Fern) is an evergreen fern native to eastern Asia from China and Japan south to the Philippines. It grows in light woodland shade on low mountains or hills, and has the ability to tolerate drier soil than many ferns. This species has bipinnate fronds 30-70 cm tall and 15-35 cm broad, with 8-20 pairs of pinnae.
(Male Fern) has tall, upright, light green, feathery fronds. Brownish scales can be found on the stems. It is a good ornamental plant for a natural garden.
(Broad Buckler Fern), 1 x 1.2 m high and across, is useful for naturalizing a woodland garden or near a pool. It has bright green stalk and dark green, broad fronds.
(Golden Male Fern), 1 m high and across, has lance-shaped, pale green fronds which darken when they mature.
(Crested Wood Fern) is a wetland plant and need year-round moisture. This fern has anti-microbial properties and has been used in expelling intestinal parasites from certain mammals.
Dryopteris species are hardy and easy to grow and good in woodland and bog gardens. They grow well in partial shade, in fetile, moisture-retentive soil. Propagation is by ripe spores and division in spring or autumn.
James K. Lindsey