A medium to large-sized deciduous perennial, this bright green, coarse-textured fern is an excellent groundcover for low, moist areas. Often found in shady swamps and woodlands, it spreads quickly and flourishes in moist or wet soils to provide cover for birds and wildlife. It will do well in average garden soils as long as it has consistent moisture. The broad, triangular fronds turn yellow in the fall and black at the first sign of frost, thus the common name. The one-foot, woody-like fertile fronds have brown, bead-like segments giving it another common name of "bead fern." Use in native gardens, woodlands, naturalized areas, along streams and ponds, and in rain or shade gardens. The beaded fronds are nice in flower arrangements.
Height: 1-4' tall and 2-3' wide. Typically 2-3' tall.
Sun: Part to full shade.
Soil: Prefers moist to wet loamy or sandy soils. Grows in very wet soils with adequate oxygen; doesn't tolerate stagnant standing water. Tolerates clay.
Wildlife Value: Host plant for larvae of the moth species olive angle shades, silver-spotted fern moth, and sensitive fern borer. Attracts birds. Resistant to deer and rabbits.
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