Dryopteris stenolepis

Synonyms Dryopteris atrata var. stenolepis, D. hirtipes var. stenolepis

Epithet means "narrow-scaled."

Evergreen, 3 to 5 ft. (90 to 150 cm). Zone 8. Apogamous.

description: The rhizome is erect, supporting stout light brown stipes with abundant scales shading from light brown in the basal portions through brownish-black in the upward expansion of the frond and rachis. The stipes can be up to one-half of the tall frond. The narrowly lanceolate blades are once-pinnate with 30 to 50 pairs of long and extremely slender pinnae with a bare suggestion of toothy margins (see photo at left on page 220). The sori are close to the midveins and covered with kidney-shaped indusia.

range and habitat: This species grows in the bush from the Himalayas and China to Taiwan, but is absent from Japan.

culture and comments: Here is a tall, statuesque, thinly structured species producing three to four fronds annually in rich soil and mild climates. It is highly desirable and an easily grown addition to shaded fernlands. With an exceptionally dense scaly foliar dressing, this species is admired and

Unique and bold foliage of Dryopteris sieboldii set off by Long wands of Dryopteris stenolepis fronds in the Duryee sculptured driftwood in the Duryee garden. garden.

distinguished for its scaliness in a class of like ornamental Asian species. Dryopteris expert Christopher Fraser-Jenkins (1989), who has spent most of his adult life studying and classifying ferns in the far reaches of India and the Himalayas, separates D. stenolepis from its would-be sibling D. gamblei based on the toothed, extremely narrow pinnae on D. stenolepis versus the lobed pinnae on its counterpart. For horticultural and botanical interest, I certainly recommend this for its height and lightweight contribution to the garden's composition.

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