Hardy, North American perennial
Description: Delicate, fine-textured, light green fronds
Habit: Grows 1-3 feet high and wide, clump forming, spreading by underground running roots
Culture: Prefers partial to full shade and moist but well-drained, humus-rich woodland loam
Hardiness: USDA Zones 4 through 8
Origin: Northern temperate regions
This showy fern, which is widespread in temperate regions throughout the Northern Hemisphere, was considered a garden variety of exquisite beauty in Britain and, by the mid 19th century, there were about 100 varieties certified by the Royal Horticultural Society. Although not mentioned specifically by Jefferson in his notes and correspondence, this species is common in the woodlands at Monticello and can be found growing as a groundcover in an oval bed by the house. During the 18th century ferns often were used to pack plants and fruits for shipping.