Doodia media

Common rasp fern

Epithet means "middle, intermediate."

Evergreen, 8 to 18 in. (20 to 45 cm). Zones 7 (with abundant protection) to 10.

description: The rhizome is erect and produces runners. Grooved, short, almost nonexistent, stipes are a lustrous two-toned striped blend of dark brown and muddy green. Stiff, upright fronds are once-pinnate, forest-green swords with upwards of 30 pairs of pinnae and an extenuated tip that bears sori to the very edge of the apex. In sunny sites the new growth is a vivid coppery scarlet. The lowest six to eight pairs of pinnae are severely reduced in size and stalked, but the majority are broadly attached with a barely connected small lower liplike foliar extension. They are bristly to the touch. Sori run the length of the pinnae midribs in dual rows of broken linear tracks that are clearly visible on the upper frond surface. The Maori name pukupuku, gooseflesh, is a magnificent and appropriate descriptive.

range and habitat: Common rasp fern is primarily a species of New Zealand and Australia with outlying populations in Fiji and New Guinea. in nature it spreads about in damp but well-drained sunny habitats, often among rocks, but in forested areas as well.

culture and comments: With rough-textured and weather-resistant leathery fronds, this plucky species is both handsome and trouble-free in sunny rock gardens or a well-drained pocket in a front-row site. A mass planting with unfurling red trimmings is a stunning display. Although evergreen, this new growth is extremely late. in the Pacific Northwest the first tentative red crosiers come calling in early summer, the penultimate fern to emerge, just one step ahead of the season's finale, Lygodium japonicum.

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