Athyrium rupestre

Epithet means "growing among rocks." Deciduous, 6 to 16 in. (15 to 40 cm). Zones 5 to 8.

description: The rhizome is erect. Plum-red stipes with swollen bases bearing dark scales are one-third of the frond length. Lanceolate to ovate blades are pinnate-pinnatifid with 10 to 15 pairs of pinnae. Sori with fringed indusia are crescent to J-shaped.

range and habitat: This species is native to well-chilled climates in eastern Russia and Japan where it is a cliff dweller in the mountains.

culture and comments: While I have not had the opportunity to grow this interesting dwarfish species, it is making its way into cultivation in Europe and should be welcome in the rock gardens of Britain and North America as well. No pre

Pastel tones on Athyrium vidalii.

cautions have been offered (a good sign) regarding slugs or soil tolerance, or intolerance, so a traditional woodland soil and lightly shaded site, complete with good drainage, should encourage its adaptation to a westward migration.

Athyrium spinulosum Spinulose lady fern Synonym Pseudocystopteris spinulosa Epithet means "with small spines." Deciduous, 1 to 2 ft. (30 to 60 cm).Zones 5 to 8.

description: The rhizome is long-creeping. Green, tan, or reddish-mahogany stipes, with swollen bases encircled with minute spiny scales, are up to 18 in. (45 cm) tall and over one-half of the frond length. Proportionately small, 12-in. (30-cm) broadly triangular blades, looking rather like a bracken on the loose, are bipinnate to tripinnate with five or six pairs of pinnae. Pinnule margins are slightly spinulose. The lower basal pinnae are elongate. Sori and indusia are elliptic to horseshoe-shaped.

range and habitat: A cold climate fern, this species creeps about in the duff of coniferous forests in China, Siberia, Japan, Korea, and the Himalayas.

culture and comments: Clearly an attractive lacy fronded type, this rarely available species should be embraced with enthusiasm, and perhaps with care, by the fern cognoscenti as a hardy, spreading backdrop in the moist woodlands of temperate gardens.

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