Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Japanese Shield Fern, Autumn Fern
Dryopteris erythrosora

Family: Dryopteridaceae
Genus: Dryopteris (dry-OP-ter-iss) (Info)
Species: erythrosora (er-rith-roh-SOR-uh) (Info)

Synonym:Aspidium erythrosorum
Synonym:Dryopteris bulligera
Synonym:Dryopteris distantipinna
Synonym:Dryopteris linyingensis
Synonym:Dryopteris oblongipinnula

11 vendors have this plant for sale.

16 members have or want this plant for trade.

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18-24 in. (45-60 cm)
24-36 in. (60-90 cm)

18-24 in. (45-60 cm)

USDA Zone 5a: to -28.8 C (-20 F)
USDA Zone 5b: to -26.1 C (-15 F)
USDA Zone 6a: to -23.3 C (-10 F)
USDA Zone 6b: to -20.5 C (-5 F)
USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 C (0 F)
USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 C (5 F)
USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)
USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)
USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)

Sun Exposure:
Partial to Full Shade


Bloom Color:

Bloom Time:

Grown for foliage

Other details:
Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Soil pH requirements:
6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)
6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:
By dividing the rootball
From spores

Seed Collecting:
N/A: plant does not set seed, flowers are sterile, or plants will not come true from seed

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There are a total of 43 photos.
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8 positives
2 neutrals
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive TheSkeptic On May 19, 2014, TheSkeptic from Teaneck, NJ wrote:

I really like autumn fern. It is not really, as someone else said, a "small" fern. It is at least as large as Japanese Painted fern, and its fronds lie more prostrate, so it has a larger footprint, with older fronds arching to the ground. A mature fern easily covers a 3-foot diameter. This fern seems to be very robust, and has survived in my dry-shade-clayey site where other ferns have perished. I recently planted the 'Brilliance' cultivar also, but they seem more delicate than the species. Time will tell. This fern is evergreen and can survive the most bitter cold in New Jersey, however, it can only withstand snowfall of about six-to-eight inches. If you get a foot of snow, the fronds will be plastered to the ground and will not get back up again (until new fronds emerge in spring). They say good things are worth waiting for, and with autumn fern you do have to wait! They are slow to get going in the spring. Today is May 19, and although Brilliance has opened some fronds, my older autumn ferns are just getting their fronds unfurled now, and will probably have some fronds fully open in another week or so. So I do not expect to see the fern in all its glory for perhaps another 3 weeks. Early June! But it's nice to have something to look forward to in the shade.

Positive KathrynOH On Jun 10, 2009, KathrynOH from Xenia, OH (Zone 5b) wrote:

Bought four of these plants from Lowe's along with some other sized ferns and plantings to accent the sides of my newly built stone stairway going down a bluff to the lower level of our property.

These are absolutely striking plants and look wonderful! They are only about 1' high right now and should double in size. Looking forward to watching them grow and fill out!

Planted along with Hosta's, Male Fern, Ostrich Fern, Hydrangea, Astilbe, and Liriope.

Positive Pyewacketcat54 On May 7, 2008, Pyewacketcat54 from Fort Worth, TX (Zone 8a) wrote:

I have this in the north bed of my house,and it never died back in winter,doubled in size this spring,really good looking fern for foundation planting.It's about 2ft wide and 2ft tall now.

Positive Cretaceous On Mar 28, 2007, Cretaceous from El Sobrante, CA (Zone 9b) wrote:

Readily available in nurseries locally. This fern has thrived here in zone 9b.

Positive lorettamar On Sep 23, 2006, lorettamar from Southold, NY (Zone 7a) wrote:

Very pretty and colorful. I agree with sanity101: they are later to leaf out than other ferns, and they do better if kept consistently moist.

Positive sanity101 On Aug 30, 2005, sanity101 from Dublin, OH (Zone 5b) wrote:

One of the smaller ferns, it is very similar in size and habit to the Japanese Painted Fern, but with markedly different coloration. They are also significantly later to leaf out than many other ferns.

While they may be 'drought tolerant' consistent watering is instrumental in them doing well. They will not wilt or die from a spell of dryness, but they grow and spread much better if regularly watered.

Positive StarGazey26 On Jun 26, 2005, StarGazey26 from (Zone 10a) wrote:

I love this plant.. I've had this spot, by the back of my yard, by a fence, that has just been plain, the only place in my whole yard, that has nothing in it.. Ive tried many plants, but have never been happy with anything i have put there.. I was in teh garden center today, and on my way out, this fern caught my eye, the nice bronze color was really outstanding and i knew when i saw it, it would work great in that bare spot! When i got home, man, it made that bare spot, be a beautiful spot, now my garden belnds in, and i cant believe that i have been without this fern!! It is a great size, and the color works well against all the other green plants.. I know it will do well.. I love it

Neutral smiln32 On Oct 27, 2004, smiln32 from Oklahoma City, OK (Zone 7a) wrote:

Gorgeous fern. (I actually got mine from lupinelover). :) Burgundy fronds turn greenish as they age. Can tolerate drought conditions and can reach a height of 24". They are deer resistant. If newly purchased, be sure to set plants at the same depth they were in pot, spacing at a distance equal to their mature spread. Great companion plant to hosta and coral bells.

Positive dogbane On Nov 15, 2003, dogbane from New Orleans, LA (Zone 9a) wrote:

Great plant for a shade garden. Inadverdantly I found out that it can be quite drought tolerant, too.

Neutral lupinelover On Jan 5, 2003, lupinelover from Grove City, OH (Zone 6a) wrote:

Absolutely beautiful, carefree woodland fern.


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Benton, Arkansas
Clayton, California
El Cerrito, California
Sacramento, California
San Diego, California
San Jose, California
Clifton, Colorado
Hollywood, Florida
Athens, Georgia
Gainesville, Georgia
Marietta, Georgia
Stone Mountain, Georgia
Niles, Illinois
Bordelonville, Louisiana
Lafayette, Louisiana
New Orleans, Louisiana
Adamstown, Maryland
Bridgewater, Massachusetts
Salem, Massachusetts
Daggett, Michigan
Andover, Minnesota
Marlton, New Jersey
Morristown, New Jersey
Neptune, New Jersey
Teaneck, New Jersey
Brooklyn, New York
New York City, New York
Southold, New York
Greensboro, North Carolina
Kure Beach, North Carolina
Raleigh, North Carolina
Clyde, Ohio
Columbus, Ohio
Monroe, Ohio
Williamsburg, Ohio
Xenia, Ohio
Gold Hill, Oregon
Portland, Oregon
Norristown, Pennsylvania
Perkasie, Pennsylvania
West Chester, Pennsylvania
Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania
Conway, South Carolina
Greenville, South Carolina (2 reports)
Ladys Island, South Carolina
Austin, Texas
Dallas, Texas
Fort Worth, Texas
Garland, Texas
Jacksonville, Texas
Lufkin, Texas
Mc Kinney, Texas
New Caney, Texas
Weatherford, Texas
Leesburg, Virginia
Lexington, Virginia
Radford, Virginia
Kalama, Washington

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