Athyrium thelypterioides

Species Native to Missouri
Common Name: lady fern 
Type: Fern
Family: Athyriaceae
Native Range: Southwestern United States
Zone: 4 to 8
Height: 2.00 to 3.00 feet
Spread: 2.00 to 3.00 feet
Bloom Time: Non-flowering
Bloom Description: Non-flowering
Sun: Part shade to full shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Low
Leaf: Colorful
Tolerate: Rabbit, Heavy Shade


Easily grown in humusy, organically rich, moist, fertile, well-drained soils in part shade to full shade. Shelter from strong winds. Promptly remove broken fronds. Divide clumps as needed in spring. Spreads somewhat slowly over time by rhizomes.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Athyrium thelypteroides, commonly called silvery spleenwort or silver glade fern, is native to eastern Asia and eastern North America. In Missouri, it is typically found in damp wooded slopes, ravines and valleys often near streams in the eastern part of the state (Steyermark). It is a deciduous fern that grows in an upright clump to 2-3 tall. Hairy, lance-shaped, dull green fronds are pointed at the tips. Synonymous with Diplazium acrostichoides and Deparia acrostichoides.

Genus name comes from Greek athyros meaning "doorless" in reference to the slowly opening hinged indusia (spore covers).

Common name is in reference to the silvery fruit dots (juvenile sori) which appear on the lower surfaces of the pinnae, giving the fronds a silvery sheen.


No serious insect or disease problems.


Shaded areas of woodland gardens, shade gardens, native plant areas or borders. Also effective along streams or ponds.