Dryopteris lacera
Common Name: wood fern 
Type: Fern
Family: Dryopteridaceae
Native Range: Northeastern Asia
Zone: 5 to 8
Height: 1.00 to 2.00 feet
Spread: 1.50 to 3.00 feet
Bloom Time: Non-flowering
Bloom Description: Non-flowering
Sun: Part shade to full shade
Water: Medium to wet
Maintenance: Low
Leaf: Evergreen
Other: Winter Interest
Tolerate: Rabbit, Heavy Shade


Easily grown in average, medium to wet soils in part shade to full shade. Prefers moist, humusy soils that are rich in organic matter. Do not let soils dry out. Site in a location sheltered from strong winds to protect the fronds. Fronds remain evergreen in all but the coldest areas of this fern’s growing range.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Dryopteris lacera , commonly called wood fern or leathery wood fern, is an evergreen to semi-evergreen fern with deciduous terminal fertile pinnae. Broad lanceolate, leathery, light green fronds to 2’ long rise in an arching clump from an erect rhizome. Each frond is pinnate at the base but pinnatifid above. Much smaller fertile pinnae appear only at the terminal ends of fertile fronds. Fertile pinnae are distinctively deciduous (wither and eventually drop after the spores fall). This fern is native to open moist woodlands, slopes and along mountain streams in China, Korea and Japan.

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 means torn in reference to the fringed segments.


No serious insect or disease problems.


Moist woodland or shade gardens.