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Native Plant Guide

Information and Services for King County, Washington

deer fern

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deer ferns lining a path
© Greg Rabourn
deer ferns lining a path (enlarge)
deer fern by stream deer fern with both fronds

Blechnum spicant

Evergreen Groundcover

Height: 2 ft.

Availability: High

Growing ease: Medium

Moisture req.: dry - wet

Exposure req.: part shade - shade


Plant description:

There are really two ferns in this category. One looks a bit like a smaller sword fern, but this variety also produces a sterile frond which are like a single long, narrow, dark, glossy leaf with a wavy, crinkled edge along the length. THe stipe (stalk) is glossy black. This frond is often called a deer's tongue fern. They like deep shade and some moisture. In the sun, they tend to be smaller. The more sun it receives, the more moisture it requires.

Keywords: black, broad, ferns, fire-resistant

Plans that use this plant:Moist, part shade, Moist, shady, Wet, part shade