Plant Common Name
Leatherwood Fern, Narrow Buckler Fern, Toothed Wood Fern
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.
AHS Heat Zone
8 - 1
USDA Hardiness Zone
2 - 8
A2, 1a, 1b, 2a, 2b, 3a, 3b, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 14, 15, 16, 17
Partial Shade, Full Shade
16"-24" / 40.6cm - 61.0cm
12"-18" / 30.5cm - 45.7cm
Europe, Eastern Europe, Northern Europe, Western Europe, Russia/Siberia, Asia, Central Asia, Eastern Asia, Western Asia, Nepal, China, Korea
Spring, Summer, Fall