Advanced Search Filters

Plant Type
Hardiness Zone
Heat Zone
Sunset Zone
Function
Sun Exposure
Soil Moisture
Water Requirement

DRYOPTERIS carthusiana

Image of Dryopteris carthusiana

Family

Dryopteridaceae

Botanical Name

DRYOPTERIS carthusiana

Plant Common Name

Leatherwood Fern, Narrow Buckler Fern, Toothed Wood Fern

General Description

A delicate fern for woodland gardens and shaded dells, the toothed wood fern offers finely divided, light green to yellow-green fronds with distinctive stems covered with soft, brown scales. This deciduous perennial is native to the northernmost reaches of Europe and Asia. It is clump-forming and slowly spreads via creeping rhizomes (underground stems). In summer, its fertile fronds develop round, brown, spore-bearing “sori” that dot the undersides of the leaves in two rows along the pinnae, or leaflets. Leaves that do not bear spores in a given season may remain evergreen where winters are relatively mild.

Naturally found in shaded woodlands growing in moist, acid soils, toothed wood fern is also known to tolerate the slightly drier soils of shaded hillsides. Late in the season, it may begin to look weathered and unattractive, particularly if exposed to dry spells. Like most woodland perennials, this is a carefree plant that naturalizes over time. It looks most handsome when massed as a groundcover or dotted along shaded rockeries or walls and is especially pretty when interplanted among more colorful shade-loving perennials.

Characteristics

  • AHS Heat Zone

    8 - 1

  • USDA Hardiness Zone

    2 - 8

  • Sunset Zone

    A2, 1a, 1b, 2a, 2b, 3a, 3b, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 14, 15, 16, 17

  • Plant Type

    Fern

  • Sun Exposure

    Partial Shade, Full Shade

  • Height

    16"-24" / 40.6cm - 61.0cm

  • Width

    12"-18" / 30.5cm - 45.7cm

  • Native To

    Europe, Eastern Europe, Northern Europe, Western Europe, Russia/Siberia, Asia, Central Asia, Eastern Asia, Western Asia, Nepal, China, Korea

Growing Conditions

  • Soil pH

    Acidic

  • Soil Drainage

    Average

  • Soil type

    Clay, Loam

  • Tolerances

    Wet Site

  • Growth Rate

    Medium

  • Water Requirements

    Average Water

  • Habit

    Clump-Forming

  • Seasonal Interest

    Spring, Summer, Fall

Ornamental Features

  • Flower Interest

    None

  • Foliage Color (Spring)

    Light Green, Yellow Green

  • Foliage Color (Summer)

    Green, Yellow Green

  • Foliage Color (Fall)

    Green, Yellow Green

  • Fragrant Flowers

    No

  • Fragrant Fruit

    No

  • Fragrant Foliage

    No

  • Bark or Stem Fragrant

    No

  • Repeat Bloomer

    No

  • Showy Fruit

    No

  • Edible Fruit

    No

  • Showy Foliage

    Yes

  • Foliage Texture

    Fine

  • Foliage Sheen

    Matte

  • Evergreen

    No

  • Showy Bark

    No

Special Characteristics

  • Usage

    Groundcover, Mixed Border, Rock Garden / Wall

  • Sharp or Has Thorns

    No

  • Invasive

    No

  • Self-Sowing

    No