Dryopteris filix-mas

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Lincolnshire Today Reprint.

D. filix-mas AGM (D) male fern Hight/Spread 100cm. Perhaps the best known of our native ferns, with tall, bipinnate fronds. It is easily grown almost anywhere, being one of the toughest of all plants, especially for dry shade, and often found growing in neglected gardens when everything else, except old apples and laurel bushes, has long since gone. Many people consider D. affinis to be a far finer plant, but the comparison is unfair. D. filix-mas is a very reliable garden plant, with some excellent cultivars.

‘Barnesii’ has long, narrow, upright and slightly crispy fronds and is a good stately form.

‘Linearis’ group and a beautiful crested form, ‘Linearis Polydactyla’, both have narrow and skeletal pinnules, with a number of good variants, but they are highly variable, so choose carefully. 80cm or more.

Some of the simply crested forms falling into the 'Cristata' groups can also be very good, including 'Furcans'; 'Cristata Jackson' and 'Martindale' all of which are first class cultivars. D. filix-mas also produces some very good 'Grandiceps' group plants, such as 'Grandiceps Wills' all are striking forms with very large terminal crests on the frond tips.