Diplazium pycnocarpon

Narrow-leaved glade fern, narrow-leaved spleenwort Synonyms Athyrium pycnocarpon, Asplenium angusti-folium

Epithet from pycnos, close, and carpos, fruit.

Deciduous, 21/2 to 31/2 ft. (75 to 105 cm). Zones 4 to 8. Slightly dimorphic.

description: The rhizome is short-creeping, producing clumps of upright, narrow, delicate foliage. Stipes with deep grooves are russet at their base and green above with the whole equaling one-third of the frond length. Lanceolate, once-pinnate blades that taper at the base are statements of simplicity with 20 to 30 pairs of outstretched, linear, i/2-in. (13-mm) wide pinnae. Fertile fronds with narrower pinnae emerge later in the season, and are slightly taller than the sterile. Sori, crowded in a herringbone fashion, are covered by linear indusia opening on one side. This species is similar to many athyriums, but not so finely divided.

range and habitat: The glade fern sweeps across eastern North America from the Great Plains to the Atlantic Coast with a few excursions into eastern Canada. In nature it creeps about modestly in rich, neutral to slightly alkaline, moisture-retentive soil.

culture and comments: A favorite in East Coast gardens, this slender upright offers ease of cultivation as well as vertical diversion in woodlands crowded with spreading foliage. Keep it moist to prevent premature dieback in late summer.

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