Hay-Scented Fern, Dennstaedtia punctilobula

Hay-Scented Fern

Dennstaedtia punctilobula

Benefits: Pollinator Benefit Graphic
Sun Shade: Plant Light Requirements Graphic
Bloom Time: Summer
Hardiness Zones: 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8
Soil Conditions: Clay, Loam, Sand
Soil Moisture: Dry, Medium
Color: Green
Fragrance: Yes
Height: 1-2 feet
Spacing: 18-24 inches

Hay-scented Fern, Dennstaedtia punctilobula, is commonly called that because fronds release a fragrance reminiscent of fresh mown hay when brushed with a hand, crushed or bruised. It is a deciduous fern that is native to open woods and wooded banks, it is quite common, almost to the point of being considered weedy, in some parts of its range. It typically grows to 2 feet tall and features lacy, narrow-triangular, erect to arching, yellowish green fronds. Fronds turn yellow in fall.

Habitats are restricted to sandstone ravines, shaded sandstone cliffs, and thinly wooded bluffs along rivers. This fern is found in high quality habitats in Illinois, although in areas further to the east it is often found in disturbed areas. Sometimes this fern is cultivated in gardens.

Best grown in moist, rich, humusy, acidic, medium moisture loams in part shade to full shade. With consistent moisture, it tolerates full sun. Also tolerates a wide range of soils, including poor rocky soils and, once well established, dry soils. Also tolerates full shade. Spreads aggresively by rhizomes to form colonies.

 Further Information

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