Dryopteris dilatata

10 Mar

Dryopteris dilatata (02/02/2014, Kew Gardens, London)

Dryopteris dilatata (02/02/2014, Kew Gardens, London)

Position: Dappled shade to full shade

Flowering period: Spores ripen late summer to autumn

Soil: Moist, damp

Eventual Height: 90cm

Eventual Spread: 120cm

Hardiness: 4b, 5a, 5b, 6a, 6b, 7a, 7b, 8a, 8b, 9a

Family: Dryopteridaceae

Dryopteris dilatata is a semi-evergreen/ deciduous fern with a rosette forming habit. Its dark green leaves emerge from a single crown and its fronds are tripinnate, triangular to ovate and up to 120cm long. Its rachis (stalks) are green with triangular scales. New shoots appear in mid spring. Sori develop on the underside of the leaves, these release the spores in autumn.

Dryopteris dilatata, commonly known as the Broad Buckler Fern, is native to north west and central Europe (including the UK). In its natural habitat it grows in moist woodlands and near streams.

The etymological root of the binomial name Dryopteris is derived from the Greek drus meaning ‘Tree’ and pteris meaning ‘Male Fern’. Dilatata is derived from the Latin dilatatus meaning ‘widened’.

The landscape architect may find Dryopteris dilatata useful in damp shady locations. It is suited to native (UK) woodland planting schemes.

Dryopteris dilatata Leaf (02/02/2014, Kew Gardens, London)

Dryopteris dilatata Leaf (02/02/2014, Kew Gardens, London)

Ecologically,  Dryopteris dilatata is a food plant for numerous insects.

The Royal Horticultural Society has given Dryopteris dilatata their prestigious Award of Garden Merit in 1997.

Dryopteris dilatata prefers moist, humus rich soils. It tolerates most pH of soil.

Dryopteris dilatata requires little maintenance. To keep a tidy appearance dead fronds may be removed in early spring.

Davis Landscape Architecture

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