Dryopteris carthusiana

Species Native to Missouri
Common Name: wood fern 
Type: Fern
Family: Dryopteridaceae
Native Range: Northern temperate regions
Zone: 3 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
Tolerate: Rabbit, Heavy Shade


Easily grown in average, medium, well-drained soil in part shade to full shade. Prefers moist, humusy, acidic soils with protection from wind in part shade.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Dryopteris carthusiana, commonly called wood fern, is a native fern of Missouri and typically grows 2-3' tall. Features lacy, bright lime-green, outward-growing fronds with blackish scales on the stipes (frond stems). Fronds will remain green in mild winters. Fronds are finely toothed and dissected. Synonymous with D. spinulosa.

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 of the monks of the Carthusian Monastery of Grande Chartreuse near Grenoble, France.


No serious insect or disease problems.


Mass in shady areas of the woodland, rock, native plant or wild garden. Grows well with spring wildflowers, purple-leafed heucheras and hostas.