a single frond of northern lady fern

Lady fern (Athyrium asplenioides). Photo: Chris Evans, University of Illinois, Bugwood.org

Updated: September 7, 2023

About lady fern 

Athyrium asplenioides (formerly Athyrium filix-femina)
Perennial fern
Dryopteridaceae or spleenwort family

Maryland Distribution: moist woods, swamps, and thickets throughout the state

Height: 1 - 3 feet

Blooms: Inconspicuous fertile pinnules occur at the tips of the fronds in late spring

Sun: prefers full to partial shade; somewhat tolerant of sunlight as long as soil moisture remains high

Soil: rich, moist soil

Garden Use & Maintenance: the bright green lacy foliage provides a striking contrast in the shade garden; will spread but is slow to colonize

Compiled by: Ria Malloy, Horticulturist & Program Coordinator (retired), Home & Garden Information Center, 2022. Rev 2023

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