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A picture of a Wood Fern

Wood Fern

Dryopteris spp.

Also known as

Buckler Fern, Fern, Male Fern, Wood fern, Shield fern

Dryopteris affinis0 by MPF (CC BY 2.5)

Full Shade
Easy care
Moderate watering
Frost Hardy


RHS hardiness


Minimum temperature

Expected size








More images of Wood Fern

A photo of Wood Fern
A photo of Wood Fern
A photo of Wood Fern
A photo of Wood Fern
A photo of Wood Fern

Wood Fern Overview

There are hundreds of evergreen and semi-evergreen Dryopteris fern species. Adapted to moist, shady, forest habitats, most species are located in Eastern Asia, with others in this genus found across Europe, America, Africa and the Pacific islands. They are known as one of the most hybridising genera of ferns and many cultivars have been produced for ornamental garden plants. Featherlike fronds emerge and uncurl beautifully in spring and evergreen varieties provide winter interest. Most species prefer moist soil while others can tolerate drier conditions when mature. Generally low maintenance, propagation by spores can be difficult.

Common problems with Wood Fern

Generally pest and disease free

How to propagate Wood Fern



Special features of Wood Fern

Attractive leaves

Ground cover

Pot plant

Wet sites

Other uses of Wood Fern

Some types form interesting, shuttle-cock like crowns.