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Native Plant of the Week: Hayscented Fern

Family: Dennstaedtiaceae


Name: Dennstaedtia punctilobula


Bloom Time: None, Fern


Flower: Spores


Soil Condition: Moist, well-drained, average


Light: Partial shade, shade


Size: 12-24" tall by 36-48" wide


Native Range: Eastern United States including Long Island


Zone: 3-8


The apple green. upright fronds make a fantastic large-scale ground cover. It is also a great option for erosion control due to its rapid growth habit. It is often confused with lady fern but if you look closely you will see that hayscented fern is hairy and when crushed it emits a scent similar to fresh mowed hay. If the soil is on the dry side the foliage may get a little ratty looking. Fronds turn pale yellow in the fall. It is not meant for small gardens.

Photos (KMS Native Plants): early spring, unfurling and foliage/habit

Maintenance: None.


Benefits: Drought tolerant. Tolerates full sun if the soil is consistently moist. Salt spray tolerant. Deer and rabbit resistant.


Fun Facts: The scent of hay is strongest in the fall when the foliage begins to turn yellow-brown. Deer may not eat it but they do like to bed down in it.


Companion Plants: Vaccinium angustifolium (lowbush blueberry), Pinus strobus (eastern white pine), Quercus species (Oaks), Symphyotrichum cordifolium (blue wood aster), Carex pensylvanica (oak sedge), Acer species (maples)


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