Dryopteris atrata

Shaggy shield fern

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photo by Tim Gainey, copyright GAP Photos (324475)

Plant details

The clump-forming Shaggy shield fern has large, dark green fronds that unfurl to resemble elephants' trunks. Like most ferns, it grows best in rock gardens, woodland or wild gardens where it can hide in shady spots and sinks its roots into damp, moist soil. However, it also does surprisingly well when grown in pots, so it can also be used on shaded patios or under pergolas. The plant does like a lot of water and humidity in the air around it, so it will need regular attention if it is grow in containers. In milder areas this fern may stay evergreen all year round, but in cooler area it will die back in the winter and should be protected with a layer of mulch over the plant's crown.

Genus: Dryopteris

Species: atrata

Hardiness: Hardy

Skill level: Beginner

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