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Dennstaedtia punctilobula - (Michx.) T. Moore

Common Name Hay-scented fern
Family Dennstaedtiaceae
USDA hardiness 3-8
Known Hazards None Known
Habitats Found in forest edges and canopy openings, along the sides of trails and roads, on hillsides, stream banks, and rocky slopes, and in meadows and old fields in part shade to full shade from sea level up to 1,200 m altitude..
Range Native to eastern North America, from Newfoundland west to Wisconsin and Arkansas, and south in the Appalachian Mountains to northern Alabama.
Edibility Rating    (0 of 5)
Other Uses    (3 of 5)
Weed Potential Yes
Medicinal Rating    (0 of 5)
Care (info)
Fully Hardy Moist Soil Full shade Semi-shade Full sun
Dennstaedtia punctilobula Hay-scented fern

Jaknouse wikimedia.org
Dennstaedtia punctilobula Hay-scented fern
Nicholas A. Tonelli wikimedia.org


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Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of fern
Dennstaedtia punctilobula is an evergreen Fern growing to 0.6 m (2ft) by 0.3 m (1ft in) at a fast rate.
See above for USDA hardiness. It is hardy to UK zone 4.
It is noted for attracting wildlife.
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: mildly acid and neutral soils and can grow in very acid soils.
It can grow in full shade (deep woodland) semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers moist soil.

UK Hardiness Map US Hardiness Map


Aspidium punctilobum (Michx.) Sw. D. punctilobula f. punctilobula. Nephrodium punctilobum Michx. Sitobolium punctilobum (Michx.) Desv.

Plant Habitats

Edible Uses

None Known

References   More on Edible Uses

Medicinal Uses

Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.

None known

References   More on Medicinal Uses

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Food Forest Plants for Hotter Conditions: 250+ Plants For Tropical Food Forests & Permaculture Gardens.
Edible Tropical Plants

Food Forest Plants for Hotter Conditions: 250+ Plants For Tropical Food Forests & Permaculture Gardens.

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Other Uses

Groundcover: Works well as a groundcover for shaded areas. Grows with a low to medium coverage density, but will quickly take over large areas and isn't advised for small gardens. Wildlife Habitat: ay scented fern provides good cover for wildlife when growing in large colonies. Ornamental: Lacy triangular fronds. Light green during summer turning shades of yellow/copper during autumn. Aromatics/Fragrance: The fronds emit a scent reminiscent of hay or cut grass when they are brushed, bruised, or crushed [318-1]. A good fern for naturalizing in woodland areas, shade gardens, cottage gardens or wild areas [368-1].

Special Uses

Food Forest  Ground Cover

References   More on Other Uses

Cultivation details

A temperate fern. Sun: Partial Shade, Shade. Soil Type: Sandy, Loamy, Silty, Clay. Tolerates a wide range of soils, including poor rocky soils and, once well established, dry soils [368-1]. Soil pH: 4.5 - 6.8. Soil Moisture: Moderate, Dry. Grows best in rich, humus soils. Can tolerate full sun if given enough moisture. Spreads aggressively. One of the first ferns to colonize after fire. Growth Rate: Fast. Life Span: Long-Lived Perennial. Stand Persistence: Long. Form: Clump. Texture: Medium. Root Type: Rhizome. Fungal Types: Endomycorrhizal. Seasonal Interest: Spring-Summer. USDA Hardiness Zones: 3 - 8. Drought: Tolerant. Flood: Moderate. Salt: Moderate. Soil Compaction: Tolerant. Mowing: Intolerant. Fire Damage: Moderate. Cold Injury: Infrequent. Wind Storm Damage: Infrequent. Disease Issues: Minor. Insect/Pest Damage: Minor. Animal Damage: Deer, Rabbits [318-1]. In this ecological community, you'll typically see Hay-scented Ferns growing among wildflowers such as goldenrods, hawkweeds, dandelions, Oldfield Cinquefoil, Common Evening Primrose, Field Chickweed, New England Aster, and Queen Anne's Lace. For polyculture design as well as the above-ground architecture (form - tree, shrub etc. and size shown above) information on the habit and root pattern is also useful and given here if available. The plant growth habit is a runner spreading indefinitely by rhizomes or stolons [1-2]. The root pattern is rhizomatous with underground stems sending roots and shoots along their length [1-2].

References   Carbon Farming Information and Carbon Sequestration Information

Temperature Converter

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The PFAF Bookshop

Plants For A Future have a number of books available in paperback and digital form. Book titles include Edible Plants, Edible Perennials, Edible Trees,Edible Shrubs, Woodland Gardening, and Temperate Food Forest Plants. Our new book is Food Forest Plants For Hotter Conditions (Tropical and Sub-Tropical).

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Plant Propagation

Propagate by spores or rhizome division. Cut rhizomes between fronds, set apart and trim back at least half of each frond.

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

Eastern hayscented fern, Hay-scented fern

NORTHERN AMERICA: Canada, Québec, Nova Scotia, Ontario, Prince Edward Island, New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, United States, Connecticut, Indiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, West Virginia, Illinois, Wisconsin, Montana, Alabama, Arkansas, Delaware, Georgia, Kentucky, Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia,

Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

Quickly take over large areas and isn't advised for small gardens.

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status :

Related Plants
Latin NameCommon NameHabitHeightHardinessGrowthSoilShadeMoistureEdibleMedicinalOther

Growth: S = slow M = medium F = fast. Soil: L = light (sandy) M = medium H = heavy (clay). pH: A = acid N = neutral B = basic (alkaline). Shade: F = full shade S = semi-shade N = no shade. Moisture: D = dry M = Moist We = wet Wa = water.


Expert comment


(Michx.) T. Moore

Botanical References

Links / References

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