Dryopteris affinis

Golden male fern

  • Botanical name: Dryopteris affinis
  • Common name: Golden male fern
  • Family: Dryopteridaceae
  • Plant Type: Perennial, Deciduous
Foliage colour:


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).

How to grow Dryopteris affinis

  • Plant size

    90cm height

    90cm spread

  • Aspect

    North facing, east facing, west facing

  • Position in border

    Front, middle

  • Sun exposure: Dappled shade, partial shade, full shade
  • Hardiness: Hardy
  • Soil type: Clay / heavy / moist

Plant calendar

A table displaying which months are best to sow, plant and harvest.
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec

Do not Plant in January

Do not Plant in February

Do not Plant in March

Do not Plant in April

Do Plant in May

Do Plant in June

Do Plant in July

Do Plant in August

Do Plant in September

Do not Plant in October

Do not Plant in November

Do not Plant in December


Do not Divide in January

Do not Divide in February

Do not Divide in March

Do Divide in April

Do not Divide in May

Do not Divide in June

Do not Divide in July

Do not Divide in August

Do not Divide in September

Do not Divide in October

Do not Divide in November

Do not Divide in December

Dryopteris affinis and wildlife

Dryopteris affinis has no particular known value to wildlife in the UK.

Is Dryopteris affinis poisonous?

Dryopteris affinis has no toxic effects reported.

No reported toxicity to:

No reported toxicity to Birds

No reported toxicity to Cats

No reported toxicity to Dogs

No reported toxicity to Horses

No reported toxicity to Livestock

No reported toxicity to People

Plants that go well with Dryopteris affinis


Trillium flexipes

American wake-robin