Sign up for our newsletter
Gardening in the Rainy Zone.
BROAD BUCKLER FERN, BROAD WOOD FERN, MOUNTAIN WOOD FERN
Pronounced: dry-OP-ter-iss dil-a-TAH-ta
Central Russia to Europe.
Sunset zones 2-7, 14-17.
USDA zones: 6-8.
Heat zones: 8-5.
Height 3 feet (90 cm).
Width: 4 feet (1.2 m).
Tripinnate, dark green leaves, with dark brown scales.
Shade to bright shade.
Humus rich, moist soil.
Sow spores when ripe.
Divide in spring or autumn.
Prune dying fronds after new growth in spring.
Rainy Side Notes
Wouldn't you know it? I finally created and planted a shade garden bed on the side of the property where the beautiful maple trees shaded the entire length. I planted a large number of ferns, including Dryopteris dilatata. Within six months, the lot next door was sold and logged of all its trees, leaving me scrambling to relocate all the ferns in this bed. Live and learn.
Dryopteris dilatata is a beautiful fern that has been known by many names:
- Aspidium dilatatum
- Dryopteris austriaca
- Dryopteris spinulosa ssp. dilatata
- Lastrea dilatata
- Nephrodium dilatatum
- Nephrodium spinulosum ssp. dilatatum
- Polypodium dilatatum
- Polystichum dilatatum
- Thelypteris dilatata House
Taxonomists, we hope, have the name sorted out, so we will not have to add another name to the above list.
D. dilatata is a large fern with lacy-looking fronds that extend five feet in length when growing under optimum conditions, makes this a wonderful addition to the moist, woodland garden. Its natural habitat is in acidic woods and cool climates, so it adapts well to our normally acidic PNW soils.
This fern may be deer-proof, but as with any hope of deer leaving a plant alone, it depends on your local herd.
Photographed in author's garden.