Dryopteris aemula

Hay-scented wood fern, hay-scented buckler fern Epithet means "imitating or rivaling other ferns." Semievergreen, 2 ft. (60 cm). Zones 6 to 8.

description: The rhizome is erect. The frond is half purple-brown stipe, with scattered brown scales, and half medium green, triangular-ovate blades bearing minute glands. The 10 to 20 pairs of tripinnate pinnae curve gracefully towards the drooping frond apex. The sori are medial (between the midrib and margin), and the indusium is kidney-shaped.

range and habitat: This species is primarily restricted to acidic, humid, oceanic coastal regions of Europe plus the Atlantic islands and Turkey.

culture and comments: In cultivation this species needs year-round humidity and deep, humus-rich soil in moist shade. Try it near your waterfall. It prefers a long growing season and is susceptible to early frosts. Though popular in Britain, it is not widely grown in the United States. The fronds,

Dryopteris affinis Golden-scaled male fern Synonyms Dryopteris borreri, D. pseudomas Epithet means "similar to."

Evergreen to subevergreen, 3 to 4 ft. (90 to 120 cm). Zones 4 to 8. Apogamous.

description: The stout rhizome produces a thick crown, flush with sturdy sprays of lush foliage. The soft green new growth is handsomely dressed in translucent russet scales. The stipe is up to one-fourth the length of the frond and the lanceolate blade is pinnate-pinnatifid to bipinnate. It is "similar" in structure to Dryopteris filix-mas. Of diagnostic significance, it differs in having a small black dot at the base of the 30 to 35 pairs of pinnae where they join the rachis. (It helps to have magnification and sometimes a stretch of the imagination to see this.) In addition the stipe scales, being more abundant, are much more prominent than in D. filix-mas. The sori are medial with kidney-shaped indusia.

Dryopteris affinis 'Crispa Gracilis' with its dwarf proportions in the foreground in the Kennar garden.

range and habitat: This woodlander grows throughout Europe including the British Isles, western Russia, and Turkey, and extends its range to North Africa.

culture and comments: Dryopteris affinis is easily grown and handsome in almost any spacious garden situation— partial sun, shade, acid, and even lime—it takes them all. Once established in the garden, it is drought tolerant. Although it can be deciduous in colder areas it is fully evergreen in milder zones. The spring growth, covered in lustrous golden scales, is a truly elegant display especially when backlit with early morning or late afternoon sunshine. With its inclination to clump, this species and its offspring can be readily propagated by division or for a bountiful crop, they all offer a great opportunity for learning via "Introductory Spore Propagation 101."

Botanists have divided this species into several subspecies although with no universal agreement. (For several opinions on the subject, see the British Pteridological Society's publication, Pteridologist 3 (1) 1996: 23-28.) Taxonomy notwithstanding, there is an extensive range of variation with an attendant yield of named cultivars. (Unfortunately, many of these interesting derivations are subject to disfiguring attacks by leafhoppers and thrips where these are present in the garden community.) Most of these varieties of the type and subspecies are commonly available and come true from spores.

'Congesta Cristata' is low growing, to 9 in. (23 cm), with congested fronds and crests at the apex.

Dryopteris affinis 'Cristata Angustata' with its frilly edges in the Kennar garden.

'Crispa' (curled) is a magnificent specimen with wavy margined pinnae and spring bright growth of yellow-green. At 3 to 4 ft. (90 to 120 cm) tall, it is a lively contrast in dark plantings.

'Crispa Gracilis' is a fastigiated forest-green 12-in. (30-cm) dwarf suggestive of a miniature conifer. It is a favorite for foreground plantings.

'Cristata' (crested), also known as 'Cristata the King', is im-

Dryopteris affinis 'Stableri Crisped' with its upright narrow architecture is one of the most popular cultivars commercially and ornamentally. Kennar garden.

'Polydactyla Mapplebeck' has tapering fronds and pinnae that split into dangling fingers.

'Revolvens' has pinnae edges rolled inwards. 'Stableri', synonym Dryopteris xcomplexa 'Stableri', is a tall upright cultivar to 4 ft. (1.2 m) presenting parsimonious 3- to 4-in. (7.5- to 10-cm) wide fronds.

'Stableri Crisped', synonym Dryopteris xcomplexa 'Stableri Crisped', like 'Stableri', has narrow, upright, slightly arching fronds. It is adorned with and admired for its crisped and ruffled pinnae. Neither cultivar is likely to be confused with others with the possible exception of Dryopteris filix-mas 'Bar-nesii' which is also stiffly erect.

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