Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Eastern Hay Scented Fern
Dennstaedtia punctilobula

Family: Dennstaedtiaceae
Genus: Dennstaedtia (den-STET-ee-uh) (Info)
Species: punctilobula (punk-tih-LOH-bew-luh) (Info)

4 vendors have this plant for sale.

8 members have or want this plant for trade.


12-18 in. (30-45 cm)
18-24 in. (45-60 cm)
24-36 in. (60-90 cm)

12-15 in. (30-38 cm)
15-18 in. (38-45 cm)
18-24 in. (45-60 cm)

USDA Zone 3a: to -39.9 C (-40 F)
USDA Zone 3b: to -37.2 C (-35 F)
USDA Zone 4a: to -34.4 C (-30 F)
USDA Zone 4b: to -31.6 C (-25 F)
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)

Sun Exposure:
Partial to Full Shade


Bloom Color:

Bloom Time:

Grown for foliage

Other details:
May be a noxious weed or invasive
Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater
This plant may be considered a protected species; check before digging or gathering seeds

Soil pH requirements:
5.1 to 5.5 (strongly acidic)
5.6 to 6.0 (acidic)
6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:
By dividing rhizomes, tubers, corms or bulbs (including offsets)

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

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By oceangirl
Thumbnail #1 of Dennstaedtia punctilobula by oceangirl

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By gregr18
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By mgarr
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By Cretaceous
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By mystic
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By mystic
Thumbnail #7 of Dennstaedtia punctilobula by mystic

There are a total of 13 photos.
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3 positives
1 neutral
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive Rickwebb On Feb 3, 2014, Rickwebb from Downingtown, PA wrote:

It is a fast spreading groundcover of very soft, light weight, bright green, bipinnate fronds about 2 feet high. It does smell like hay when one bruises the foliage. It is sold at some larger garden centers in the East and Midwest; not everyone carries it. I know of some wild colonies in French Creek State Park in southeast Pennsylvania near Reading, and Jenkins Arboretum west of Philadelphia has some big colonies. It is native to the eastern US, so it is only invasive in that it can invade the area of other plants in the garden by underground rhizomes and it can reproduce by spores to come up in other garden areas. I know of some appearing in an area under some Dwarf Fothergilla and through Common Periwinkle in a landscape.

Positive 48park On May 27, 2010, 48park from Pepperell, MA (Zone 5a) wrote:

In my Zone 5a garden, an attractive, low fern whose tenacity can be a virtue in the right location. I have paired this fern with spring blooming bulbs (tulips, daffodils and hyacinth) which it nicely covers over as it grows, and tall asiatic lilies and columbines that rise above later in the summer.

Neutral Cretaceous On Apr 10, 2007, Cretaceous from El Sobrante, CA (Zone 9b) wrote:

Native to the north-eastern United States (Alabama, Arkansas, Connecticut, District of Columbia, Delaware, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Maine, Missouri, North Carolina, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania,Rhose Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia,Vermont, Wisconsin, and West Virginia).

Considered an endangered species in the state of Illinois.

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

Fragrant perennial, thus the name. Green fronds, triangle to oval shaped heavily-divided, lacy leaflets. Tolerates poor soil, but prefers a slightly acidic soil. Prefers regular waterings. Can reach a height of 30". Prefers full shade. Native to the Eastern U.S. Can be propagated by spring division of rhizomes or when it sporlates in summer.


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

Bridgewater, Massachusetts
Mashpee, Massachusetts
Pepperell, Massachusetts
Elizabeth City, North Carolina
Flat Rock, North Carolina
Cleveland, Ohio
Birdsboro, Pennsylvania
West Chester, Pennsylvania
Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania
Nashville, Tennessee
Viola, Tennessee
Orlean, Virginia

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