Found all over temperate parts of the Northern Hemisphere, wood fern (Dryopteris spp.) is a shade-loving woodland plant. Many varieties are native to North America, but the largest number of varieties are found in Asia.
Although prevalent in the wild, wood fern and its close relatives are also widely used in landscaping and ornamental gardens. They bear no flowers, but their lacy, upright growth habit provides texture and height in the shade garden.
Drypoteris species ferns can grow up to 20 feet high and spread up to 10 feet across, depending on the specific variety and under optimal growing conditions.
Wood ferns prefer moist, rich soil, similar to the natural soil found on the forest floor. Enriching the soil in their planting bed with leaf mulch will greatly benefit them and contribute to healthy, robust growth.
This species of ferns was traditionally used in folk medicine to remove parasites from humans and animals. It has the unique ability to eradicate the pests without harming the host person or animal.