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Sensitive Fern
Sensitive Fern
Sensitive Fern
Sensitive Fern

Sensitive Fern

Regular price $3.50 Sale

Onoclea sensibilis

Origin: Eastern and Central US and Canada

Improvement status: Wild

Seeds per packet: unknown (sensitive fern is propagated by black powdery spores)

Germination tested: 1/2021: 85%

Life cycle: Herbaceous perennial

A common chartreuse-colored fern that’s found in a wide range of habitats all over the eastern and central US. It prefers wet sites, but should do fine in average garden soil as long as it doesn't dry out. In wetter conditions it can take full sun, making sensitive fern a versatile one for garden, woodland or naturalized plantings. Browns off in early frosts, hence the “sensitive” title. Spore fronds are curious looking. It will slowly spread by rhizome and spore to form a glade. 

This species is often eaten as a "fiddlehead" (the still-curled-up shoots in the spring), after the brown scales have been removed. The fiddleheads they produce are smaller than the more common ostrich ferns or cinnamon ferns. Apparently the root has also been eaten, but it is considered a famine food.

Grows to 2 feet tall by 1 foot wide. Wet to medium soil. Surface sow spores in Fall.

These spores were produced by our friends at Ernst Conservation Seeds in Meadville, PA.

Growing Tips: Surface sow spores in autumn on moist soil or leaf litter.