Plant Common Name
Beaded Lipfern, Lipfern
This entry has yet to be reviewed and approved by L2G editors.
Few people would think ferns grow in arid climates, but the beaded lipfern is a notable and beautiful exception. This dense, spreading fern -- via elongating rhizomes -- naturally inhabits rocky slopes and ledges across the American Southwest and into northwestern Mexico. The habitat is at higher elevations, and this species tends to proliferate on east-facing slopes nestled at the base of boulders or shrubs that cast protective shade.
Beaded lipfern produces upright, triangular-shaped fronds of bright lime green. The tiny leaflets in the frond are rounded and bead-like, usually with edges that curl under. The top surface of the fronds is smooth, but the underside is coarse and lined with overlapping brown scales. From summer into fall, fertile fronds produce rusty orange sori bodies on their undersides. Ferns reproduce by spores released from these sori, not with flowers and seeds. Excessive winter cold or a prolonged drought causes many fronds to die off.
Retain natural colonies of beaded lipfern if encountered on your property. Nursery-grown plants may be transplanted into partially shaded rock gardens or in the nooks of a shaded stone retaining wall. This fern looks its best when allowed to ramble around attractive boulders and hillside shrubs, creating a naturalistic setting in the landscape.
AHS Heat Zone
7 - 1
USDA Hardiness Zone
7 - 9
2a, 2b, 7, 10, 11, 12
Partial Sun, Partial Shade
6"-15" / 15.2cm - 38.1cm
2'-5' / 0.6m - 1.5m
South-Central United States, Southwestern United States, California, Mexico