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Cystopteris fragilis

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Plant types and subtypes: Ferns

Light Requirements: part-shade, shade

Water Use: medium

Soil Moisture: moist

Soil Description: neutral, average, poor, loam, gravel/rock

Height: 6"-12"

Leaf Color: green, lime-green

Hardiness Zone: 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9

Additional Tags: clumping, ornamental foliage, rock garden plant, shade garden plant, woodland plant

Cystopteris fragilis (brittle bladderfern)
  • Cystopteris fragilis (brittle bladderfern)
  • Cystopteris fragilis (brittle bladderfern)
  • Cystopteris fragilis (brittle bladderfern)

Pricing & Availability

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Description

Cystopteris fragilis

Also known as:

brittle bladderfern

,

brittle bladder fern

,

fragile fern

,

brittle fern

Scientific Synonyms:

Cystopteris dickieana, Cystopteris fragilis ssp. dickieana, Cystopteris fragilis var. angustata, Cystopteris fragilis var. woodsioides, Filix fragilis

Description

Cystopteris fragilis is a small, deciduous, fern with a clumping and irregular form. Although delicate in appearance, its specific epithet 'fragilis' defines the brittleness of its stems, that will snap off easily if mistreated. It typically form clumps about 12" across and tall, with bright green leaves and stems that are dark, almost black, toward the base.

Cultivation

Brittle bladderfern is found in abundance in the western states, and has somewhat disjoint populations in the upper mid-west and northeast. It is adapted to average, lean, rocky soil, that is kept consistently moist, and is often found growing in limestone rocky crags. It will die back if the conditions become too dry, only to bounce back and produce new growth once it receives adequate moisture. It can benefit from a good layer of humus, but, under rich conditions, it can be easily out-competed by more aggressive plants. Overall, it is easy to grow and low maintenance. Very cold hardy. Zones 3-9

Propagation

Easiest to propagate by clump division.

Additional Notes

a beautiful, well-behaved delicate fern, well suited for shaded rock gardens and growing through stone walls. Underutilized, but well worth special attention.

Native Range & Classification

Recorded County Distribution: USDA data

Native Range:
AZ, CA, CO, CT, IA, ID, IL, KS, KY, MA, ME, MI, MN, MT, NC, ND, NE, NH, NJ, NM, NV, NY, OH, OR, PA, SD, TX, UT, VA, VT, WA, WI, WY

USDA Endangered Status:

  • Exploitably Vulnerable: NY
  • Presumed Extirpated: OH

Classification

Kingdom Plantae Plants
Subkingdom Tracheobionta Vascular plants
Superdivision Seed plants
Division Pteridophyta Ferns
Class Filicopsida
Subclass
Order Polypodiales
Family Dryopteridaceae Wood Fern family
Genus Cystopteris bladderfern
Species Cystopteris fragilis brittle bladderfern