Dryopteris dilatata 'Lepidota Cristata'

Common Name: broad buckler fern 
Type: Fern
Family: Dryopteridaceae
Zone: 5 to 9
Height: 1.00 to 1.50 feet
Spread: 1.00 to 2.00 feet
Bloom Time: Non-flowering
Bloom Description: Non-flowering
Sun: Part shade to full shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Low
Tolerate: Rabbit, Heavy Shade


Winter hardy to USDA Zones 5-8 where it is easily grown in consistently moist, humusy, organically rich, well-drained soils in part shade to full shade. Best in sun-dappled shade. Soils should not be allowed to dry out.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Dryopteris dilatata, commonly known as broad wood fern or broad buckler fern, is a semi-evergreen, deciduous wood fern whose wide-spreading, finely-cut, triangular fronds rise upward and outward from its central crown in a form somewhat reminiscent of the shape of a large shuttlecock. “Broad” part of the common name is in reference to the wide-spreading fronds. This fern may grow to 4-5’ tall in the wild in Europe, but is more likely to grow 2-3’ tall in U.S. landscapes. Lance-shaped, 2- or 3-pinnate, wide-spreading, deep green fronds are triangular when young, but mature to oval or lanceolate. Frond midribs and stalks are covered with dark brown scales.

This fern is indigenous to northern Europe and northern Asia.

Genus name from Greek dryas meaning oak and pteris meaning fern in reference to the presence of some species of wood ferns in woodland areas populated with oaks.

Specific epithet from Latin means spread out or expanded.

‘Lepidota Crestata’, commonly called crested wood fern or crested buckler fern, is a crested form of the species. It typically forms a spreading clump to 15” tall of crested, finely-dissected, lacy dark green fronds (each to 18” long) with narrow pinnules and reddish-brown scales.


No serious insect or disease problems. Rust, leaf gall and fungal spots.


Naturalize in woodland or shade gardens.