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Dryopteris affinis

Golden male fern

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Key information

Plant type

Hardy perennial


Dramatic foliage



Skill level


Dryopteris affinis

Plant details

Dryopteris affinis is a magnificent garden fern, bearing a shuttlecock of long, upright, pale green fronds with contrasting brown, scaley stems in spring. In mild winters it will stay green, but in cold, exposed positions it's more likely to be deciduous.

Despite needing shade to thrive, Dryopteris affinis happily tolerates several hours of sun each day, and is more wind-resistant than most ferns. It's a great choice for damp, shady parts of the garden, where it has terrific presence, contrasting well with low groundcover plants. The Royal Horticultural Society has given it its Award of Garden Merit (AGM).

Family: Dryopteridaceae

Genus: Dryopteris

Species: affinis

Plant type: Hardy perennial

Foliage colour: Light green

Feature: Dramatic foliage

Sun exposure: Partial shade, Shade

Soil: Moist

Hardiness: Hardy

Skill level: Beginner

Height: 90cm

Spread: 90cm

Time to divide plants: April to April

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