Dryopteris carthusiana

Spinulose wood fern, toothed wood fern

Synonym Dryopteris spinulosa

Epithet is after botanist Johan Cartheuser (1704-1777).

Deciduous, 11/2 to 21/2 ft. (45 to 75 cm). Zones 2 to 7 (8).

description: The rhizome is ascending and produces clumps of airy triangular blades on stipes that make up one-third of the frond. The smooth foliage, with 12 to 14 pairs of triangular pinnae, is bipinnate-pinnatifid and lacks glandular hairs. Early deciduous, it colors the Indian summer landscape with an autumnal butter-yellow warmth. Sori with kidney-shaped indusia are evenly distributed on the upper pinnae but sparsely produced on lower pinnae.

range and habitat: This species is cosmopolitan and cir-cumboreal in distribution with populations in the moist mountainous areas of northern North America, the Pyrenees, and the Himalayas. In the eastern United States it is notably promiscuous and produces assorted hybrids that fascinate serious collectors and provide good entertainment and challenging excursions for the "weekend fern warrior."

culture and comments: Dryopteris carthusiana is one easy-to-grow, adaptable fern although care should be taken to protect its somewhat brittle fronds from wind. Plant it in shade and loamy soil and forget it. It can be confused with D. dilatata but the stipe scales are uniformly tan as opposed to the bicol-ored scales of D. dilatata. Field characteristics are also somewhat similar to D. intermedia, but the latter bears minute glandular hairs, is evergreen, and has more uniform-sized basal pinnae. A crested form is in cultivation in Europe and may soon be available from fern specialists in the United States.

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