Dryopteris caucasica

Epithet means "from the Caucasus." Deciduous, 2 to 3 ft. (60 to 90 cm).Zones 5 to 8.

description: The rhizome is erect and the fronds are up to 3 ft. (90 cm) with one-third stipe and two-thirds lanceolate bipinnate blades. The 20 to 25 pairs of pinnae are a flat green with double-toothed margins giving a serrate appearance. It is one of the parents of Dryopteris filix-mas. Sori are medial with kidney-shaped indusia.

range and habitat: A native of Turkey, Iran, and the Caucasus mountains, this fern appears to be better represented in the literature than in gardens. Don Hackenberry of the Appalachian Wildflower Nursery in Reedsville, Pennsylvania, introduced it to the U.S. trade.

culture and comments: This species should be easy in traditional moist woodland settings wherever D. filix-mas is grown, although it needs more protection and more moisture during hot weather. It resents transplanting and tends to die down earlier than D. filix-mas. In addition it differs in having the indusium remain white until shedding. The dissimilari-

Comparison of lower pinnae on (left to right) Dryopteris campy-loptera, D. carthusiana, and D. intermedia, all eastern U.S. natives.

Dryopteris carthusiana in the gardens at the Mount Cuba Center.

ties between the two species are relative and separated by adjectives such as paler and more serrate and complicated by the fact that D. filix-mas is extremely variable. Distinctions are hard to determine without having both in hand.

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