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
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Foliage Color:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Characteristics:

Unknown - Tell us

Water Requirements:

Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Where to Grow:

Unknown - Tell us


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:

Unknown - Tell us

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


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

show all

Gardeners' Notes:


On Oct 19, 2015, coriaceous from ROSLINDALE, MA wrote:

Easy, adaptable, evergreen, glossy. Forms a clump that does not spread. The fronds lie flat in the winter with the weight of snow, and should be cut back in early spring before the new fronds emerge.

The common name comes from the autumnal, reddish to orange tints of the new fronds, which emerge successively all season and turn dark green as they mature. This species does nothing notable in autumn.


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)... read more


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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


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.


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.


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

Absolutely beautiful, carefree woodland fern.