Dryopteris filix-mas - Male fern

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Part ShadeShadeBird Friendly

Male fern
Dryopteris filix-mas


- Plant listed for information only. Not currently being sold at Garden Centers

Long, leathery fronds uniquely taper at the end and again at the base.  Fronds start out a light yellowish green then darken over the summer to rich green and are perfect for massing in shade. Fronds remain green during winter but fade just in time for new fiddlehead growth to emerge in spring. Easily grown in average, medium moisture soils in part shade to full shade. Prefers consistently moist, humusy soils rich in organic matter. Soils should not be allowed to dry out. Site in locations protected from strong winds to prevent damage to the fronds.

  • Drought tolerant when grown in full shade
  • Provides year-round cover for native birds
  • Perfect for massing in any shade garden
  • Native wildlife use it for hiding from predators
  • Great texture from uniquely shaped fronds

Native Range

The entire US except for the southeast states and great plains states.

Map Credit: The Biota of North America 
Map Key: Green (native), Teal (native, adventive), Blue (present), Yellow (present & rare), Red (extinct)



Ferns lighten the darkness of shade gardens and woodlands while projecting a feeling of lushness. In addition to their ability to tolerate both shade and drought, ferns provide essential cover for native birds and other wildlife from predators.




Water regularly until the plants become established. Cut back old fronds after new growth begins in spring.


Mature Size: 2-4ft. Tall x 2-4ft. Wide

Hardiness Zone: 4-8

Sun Exposure: Part Shade to Full Shade

Coming Soon!

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