Description: Finely-textured fronds composed of many leaflets that hang like fingers from a dark, wiry-forked stalk.
Habit: Grows 10 to 30" tall and up to 18" wide
Culture: Prefers moist, shady woods with humus rich soil
Hardiness: Cold hardy to USDA Zone 3
Origin: North America
This North American species is native from Nova Scotia to British Columbia and south to Georgia and Arkansas. Although delicate in appearance, this beautiful fern transplants easily and spreads quickly to create a voluminous, soft green groundcover. The Swedish naturalist Peter Kalm observed in Travels in North America (1753) that "the English in their plantations call it 'maiden hair'; it grows in all their North American colonies." The fronds were considered superior to European species for use in surgery and large quantities were shipped to France during the late 18th century.