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Onoclea sensibilis

Sensitive Fern

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Item #: 278

Zones: 3a to 9b

Dormancy: Winter

Height: 20" tall

Culture: Part Sun to Light Shade ?

Origin: United States

Pot Size: 3.5" pot (24 fl. oz/0.7 L) ?


Named for the sensitivity of the foliage to frost...not political incorrectness, this rhizomatous (spreads rapidly in very loose, moist soils) fern has bizarre light-green, large, lobed leaves resembling a green glove...no relation to OJ's infamous glove. The spores are not produced on the leaf backs like many ferns, but instead on separate 2' tall stalks that emerge in mid-August and resemble upright strings of green beads. These fertile fronds turn brown in fall and often remain up into the winter...unless you cut them for flower arrangements. Sensitive fern, despite its name, tolerates the toughest conditions. Sensitive fern is best used in large woodland drifts...either in bog conditions or dry soil.