Lacy pale fronds lend an air of fragility that conceals the Lady Fern’s tough nature. A harbinger of spring, Athyrium filix-femina is one of the earliest ferns to unravel those fresh green crosiers.
Lacy pale fronds lend an air of fragility that conceals the Lady Fern’s tough nature. A harbinger of spring, Athyrium filix-femina is one of the earliest ferns to unravel those fresh green crosiers. There is an almost endless list of cultivars as spore raised plants will often look different to the mother and Victorian fern lovers named a huge number.
A few theories abound as to how this fern came to be associated with stereotyped notions of femininity. Some refer to how the sori (reproductive structures) are concealed in an inconspicuous manner, whilst others point to notions of graceful ‘Ladylike’ elegance.
Growing across the Northern hemisphere, in particular there are Native American traditional uses for this fern: fiddleheads are consumed a number of ways including as tea to assist in pains related to childbirth. Oil from the roots have allegedly been used since the 1st century AD to get rid of worms.
Care & Size Guidance
Given a position in full or dappled shade and a rich moist soil it will produce vigorous fresh-looking growth and remain attractive until frosts cut back the leaves. At maturity this fern can reach 80cm tall or more and slowly forms large clumps. They will look their best in a sheltered position where the finely toothed fronds can arrange themselves to their neatest undisturbed effect.