ferns identification

sue

I bought a big planter of these, divided them, and now have them everywhere, but I don't know what kind they are. Can someone help please


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wantonamara Z8 CenTex

could it be Southern Shield Fern, AKA southern wood fern or Dryopteris kunthii.

Southern Shield Fern

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sue

thank you. Ferns are in wisconsin if that helps at all.

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wisconsitom(Zone 4/5)

The "ferns are now everywhere" bit would suggest ostrich fern. These are great plants for filling large, moist areas. In fact, in the northern parts of our state, it is not uncommon to see large colonies of this species growing in a wet ditch-in full sunlight! This is a rhizomatous species and will not play well with the other plants in a flower garden setting. But for ecological restoration in appropriate situations, it is a great plant.

Now all that said, I'm not 100% sure that's what you've got, simply because the photo is not especially clear. But from that one sentence in your description, plus a photo that at least doesn't rule it out, I'm thinking ostrich fern-Matteucia struthiopteris.

+oM

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sue

thank you. I'll send better pictures. It spreads fast once the original plants got established. I really like it. Definitely got my moneys worth from that one planter.

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junco East Georgia zone 8a(zone 8a)

What about Athyrium filis-femina, Southern Lady Fern? USDA shows it native all over the lower US, and it spread vigorously in my shade garden now that it is established, just as you say yours did.

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wantonamara Z8 CenTex

Sorry Steelskies , I did not see an identifying area list in the original post , so I went off of person experience

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wisconsitom(Zone 4/5)

BTW, did it send up stalks of dark brown spore-bearing structures late summer to autumn? That would be ostrich fern.

+oM

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wisconsitom(Zone 4/5)

And those "sporangia" would still be visible.

+oM

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sue

I took closer pictures. Now I have to find them.. first picture shows front of fern; second picture shows back of fern. Thank you.


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wisconsitom(Zone 4/5)

OK, now I feel a fool for not further asking, "are there sporangia-usually presenting as brown dots or patches on the undersides of the fronds"? I don't see any of the structures I associate with mature ostrich fern, but in all other respects, that is what this appears to be. and if not sexually mature, it would explain the absence of said structures. Look under the fronds, that is the underside, and see if you see anything other than green. I do think these are ostrich, but until we nail that down, can't say for sure.

+om

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sue

No brownish growths/structures from the ferns. Thank you.

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wisconsitom(Zone 4/5)

Steel, the combo of what you've told us along with photos that don't rule out the ostrich fern compel me to say that's what you've got there. Again, a great colonizing species, but not one to try and mix in with a lot of little dainties. This is a tough customer that will really cover some ground where conditions are right....and all they really need is steady moisture. Tolerant to a wide range of sun exposures.

+oM

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sue

thank you all for your comments. The second picture shows the underside of the fern, and there are no brown dots.

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sue

they are mostly in shade, and really don't get a whole lot of water, since many of them are under pines. Very prolific though under these conditions.

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sue

I solved the mystery. I did notice a few of those brownish "ostrich" looking things sticking out of the ferns, but only on a very few of them. So I guess only some of the ferns send those up. I really never noticed those before. Thanks all for your comments. They are spreading so much and now covering up my "June" hostas, so I guess better move some of them. Is now a good time, or wait til spring?

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wisconsitom(Zone 4/5)

These things are pretty hard to kill. BTW, they are rhizomatous, so there's a word for you to look up! That will tend to indicate these guys are here to stay. Again, a great native plant, superb for colonizing empty space and areas too wet for other species, but not one which will work well in a "garden". I like them and have many, both in my yard and at my tree farm up north, but that's me. Incidentally, yes, the growth under a heavy pine (or other tree type) canopy will be slowed, but never stopped. tough, tough customers-you can move them any time the ground is workable. And yes, you will see some of these rhizomes when you dig.

+om

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