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An Early and Beautiful Fiddlehead

Interrupted Fern

1-Quart
Item # 36372
$14.95
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The fertile brown leaflets interrupt the green, sterile ones.

Perfect for Naturalizing Shaded Areas!
One of the earliest fiddleheads to emerge in the spring, this unique species creates a lovely bicolor display of green fronds and more bronze/brown fronds alternating on the same plant.

This fern takes its common name (Interrupted Fern) from the way that the fertile, brown fronds often "interrupt" the green, sterile ones. This intriguing phenomenon is called frond dimorphism: the brown leaflets are loaded with spore-producing sori on their undersides, while the green leaflets are sterile and act like "normal" leaves to capture sunlight. While other ferns (like the closely related Cinnamon Fern) share this condition, Interrupted fern is unique for the way that the fertile fronds shrivel up after they drop their spores, contracting to hug the stem as a small brown mass. This gives the mature plant an "interrupted" look, with brown collars separating the green fronds.

A native of the northeastern United States, this species is ideally suited to moist, woodland soils. In partly shaded spots with evenly moist, humus-rich soil, it will thrive and naturalize over time to form dazzling drifts. Zones 4 to 8.

Genus Osmunda
Species claytoniana
Item Form 1-Quart
Zone 4 - 8
Habit Upright
Plant Height 24 in - 3 ft
Plant Width 12 in - 24 in
Additional Characteristics Flower
Foliage Color Brown, Medium Green
Light Requirements Part Shade
Moisture Requirements Moist,  well-drained
Soil Tolerance Normal,  loamy
Uses Fall Color, Border, Foliage Interest, Ornamental, Outdoor
Restrictions Canada, Guam, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, Virgin Islands