Deparia is a genus of roughly 50 species of ferns with native members everywhere in the world except western Asia, Europe and South America. The name deparia comes from the Greek "depas" (saucer) and refers to the shape of the spore cover on the back of the frond.
Over the years we have found a handful of deparia ferns that do well in our Raleigh garden and occasionally produce these ferns for sale. Deparia are generally medium-sized ferns and may be evergreen or deciduous.
Like most ferns, deparia prefers partial shade and rich, well-drained, consistently moist, woodland soils. In general, deparia ferns are adaptable and easy to grow...perfect for the beginning fern gardener. Most deparia species will spread slowly into a small colony. Try combining deparia with acanthus, danae, or farfugium to make a nice woodland garden mix.
More Information About Deparia
Deparia is a genus of about 50 species that are closely related to Athyrium. Over the years, they have been tossed about from one genus to another as we attempt to present a more natural classification that represents the family relationships of ferns. The species are native mostly to Oceania and Asia. One species, Deparia acrostichoides (the Silvery Glade Fern) is a common sight in the Eastern U.S., growing in cove forests in the mountains. The word Deparia comes from the Greek ‘depas’, which is a cup or a beaker, and is thought to describe the shape of the indusium.
Deparia acrostichoides (Silvery Glade Fern) (aka: Athyrium thelypteroides) A great, slowly spreading, deciduous native fern producing clumps of 2’ tall green fronds that resemble a very robust New York Fern. In good conditions the fronds can reach nearly 3’ in length. The spores are produced in lines on either side of the midrib. Though this plant does occur in sheltered, north-facing slopes along streams in the Piedmont, they are much better suited to upper Piedmont and mountain regions in the Carolinas. (Hardiness Zone 4a-8a. at least)
Deparia conilii (Lady in Bed Fern) (aka: Lunathyrium pseudoconilii) Thanks to Dr. John Mickel for sharing this Japanese native he prizes in his New York garden. Deparia conilii creates a deciduous groundcover that can form a 3' wide patch of 10" tall fronds in 5 years. It reminds us of a smaller version of one of our favorites, Athyrium japonicum. Perfect for the smaller woodland garden. (Hardiness Zone 6-8 at least)
Deparia japonica and D. petersenii (Japanese Lady Ferns) (syn: Lunathyrium japonicum; Athyrium japonicum) These two species are so similar even experts tend to misidentify them. Most plants that have been sold in the trade as D. japonica are actually D. petersenii. We believe we have grown both and both grow very, very well. Too well in the case of D. petersenii which will freely produce sporelings throughout the garden and even farther afield. We have removed D. petersenii for its potential as an invasive exotic and maintain a single wild collection of the lesser grown and lesser-known D. japonica. Our selection of this tough, easy-to-grow, deer-resistant, but little-known groundcover Japanese Lady Fern was brought back by Ozzie Johnson from his 2008 Vietnamese expedition. The triangular leaf blade of Deparia japonica is held upright to 18", making a dense, slowly spreading deciduous clump. This is one that will perform well even in deep shade. (Hardiness Zone 6a-10b, at least)
Deparia lobato-crenata (Deep-lobed Japanese Sword Fern) We are madly in love with Deparia lobato-crenata...a fern from Japan and Korea. The species was officially published in 1977. Our 2005 planting of Deparia lobato-crenata formed a 7' wide patch in 10 years. The dark glossy green, 18" long x 1.5" wide, narrow, upright fronds create a truly unique appearance in the woodland garden. Deparia lobato-crenata has proven quite easy to grow in average, slightly acidic garden soils. It's been cultivated so infrequently that we don't know its northern hardiness limit, but it has been thriving here in Raleigh for over 17 years. (Hardiness Zone 7b-10b, at least)
Deparia okoboana (Okobo Glade Fern) This little known and extremely rarely grown deciduous species was shared with us by John Mickel. Deparia okoboana is native to China, Vietnam, and Japan. It is an apogamous triploid naturally occurring from a hybridization between the diploid species Deparia viridifrons and the triploid apogamous D. unifurcata. Apogamous means that, despite being a normally sterile triploid, this fern avoids the sexual path and simply produces little triploid clones from the spores. This is a pleasant species with 1.5’ tall fronds from slowly spreading rhizomes and will form a patch 2.5’ wide in 5 years. (Hardiness Zone 6a-8b, guessing)
Deparia pycnosora (Tapering Glade Fern): (syn: Athyrium pycnosorum) This Asian native is found growing on moist rocky cliffs and makes a superb deciduous groundcover. Resembling a giant Thelypteris noveboracensis (New York fern) in habit, the 3' tall pubescent (hairy) fronds form texturally dense patches. Expect a 10-year-old clump to reach 3' in width. (Hardiness Zone 4a-8b)
Deparia lancea = Diplazium subsinuatum (Lance-leaf Glade Fern) This stunning species looks like it should be related to a Pyrrosia rather than being a glade fern. The spore patterns in lines on the backs of the leaves give away its relationship to the glade ferns. Though this species was formerly known as Diplazium subsinuatum it was found not to be genetically related to Diplazium and moved into the genus Deparia. The oldest, and thus valid name for it as a Deparia is D. lancea. This fern is found across the warmer regions of south and east Asia, from India east to Japan, where it is often found growing on boulders and among rocks in moist woodlands. It has made a spectacular specimen plant for us with its slowly spreading nature and evergreen strap-like leaves. Provide this plant with good drainage but don’t allow it to dry out. Though it is almost never seen in cultivation it should be much more widely grown and is of easy cultivation. Previously this plant was thought to be hardy only to zone 9, but we have had it for well over a decade and can attest that it is far hardier than once thought. (Hardiness Zone 7b-10b)
Plant Delights Nursery has a huge collection of over 1000 ferns planted in our gardens. We also have one of the largest and most esoteric selections of ferns for sale in the US. If you are looking to buy ferns, especially a rare, cold hardy, garden fern, Plant Delights should be your first stop. Providing beauty and texture to the garden, ferns are great garden plants and a staple of any well-designed garden.