Dryopteris campyloptera Mountain wood fern

Dryopteris expansa x D. intermedia. Epithet means "curved wing." Deciduous, 2 ft. (60 cm). Zones 4 to 7 (8).

description: The rhizome is erect. Stipes with pale scales are usually one-third of the frond length. The blades are thin-textured, triangular, and up to four times gracefully divided with significantly elongated lower pinnules. There is a measurable and significant gap, easily mistaken as missing pinnules, between the rachis and the first lower pinnule on the bottom pinnae. They are fewer in number and much larger than their counterparts on the same pinnae (see photo at left). sori are medial with a kidney-shaped indusium.

range and habitat: This fertile hybrid is native and common in moist woods from New England to the lower Appalachian Mountains where the range extends predominantly to higher altitudes.

culture and comments: With a strong preference for woodlands and cold winters, mountain wood fern is easily established in partial sun or shade. Influenced by its D. expansa parent, it will wilt and perform poorly in areas with hot humid summers. It bears a strong resemblance to D. expansa but the latter is more upright in habit. It is similar as well to the European D. dilatata, which, however, has tan stipe scales with a dark center rather than a monochrome brown.

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