Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Leatherleaf Fern, Leathery Shield-fern, Shield Hare's Foot
Rumohra adiantiformis

Family: Polypodiaceae
Genus: Rumohra (roo-MOH-ruh) (Info)
Species: adiantiformis (ad-ee-an-tih-FOR-mis) (Info)

Synonym:Aspidium capense
Synonym:Polypodium adiantiforme
Synonym:Polystichum adiantiforme
Synonym:Rumohra aspidoides
Synonym:Polystichum capense

2 vendors have this plant for sale.

10 members have or want this plant for trade.


24-36 in. (60-90 cm)
36-48 in. (90-120 cm)

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

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)
USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)
USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 C (30 F)
USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 C (35 F)

Sun Exposure:
Full Sun
Sun to Partial Shade
Light Shade


Bloom Color:

Bloom Time:


Other details:
Requires consistently moist soil; do not let dry out between waterings

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

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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There are a total of 11 photos.
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7 positives
No neutrals
1 negative

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive skidz On Jun 26, 2014, skidz from Wetumpka, AL wrote:

Plant tag said Leafleaf and picture matches, but only gets about ten inches tall. Spreads slowly to make a nice deciduous ground cover in my 7b/8a garden. Has mingled nicely with pachysandra which keeps the spot green in the winter. Survived 9 degrees last winter and came back as strong as ever in the spring. Perhaps gets taller and stays evergreen further south.

Positive chuck7701 On Feb 11, 2009, chuck7701 from McKinney, TX (Zone 8a) wrote:

Been growing about a dozen of these ferns in the yard partial sun to shade for several years, and I like them. Light, decorative, airy, and fairly tough fern that will take a lot of sun, but do avoid hot afternoon sun in the Texas area. Like most ferns, don't let them dry out.........

They are usually evergreen, will take a short moderate freeze into the upper 20's, but an extended freeze or lower temps will get them. They do come back quickly, however, the height is limited by the severity of the freeze from year to year.

Negative concho1952 On Apr 4, 2007, concho1952 from Austin, TX wrote:

Mine has never grown taller than about 10 inches (some sellers describe them as reaching 36 inches tall). Also, mine is definitely not an evergreen (region 8B): it turns brown with the lightest frost, but does return the following spring. Maybe this inhibits its upward growth. On the positive side, it does spread steadily along the ground. I treat it as a perennial groundcover. Not what I had hoped for.

Positive Cretaceous On Feb 17, 2007, Cretaceous from El Sobrante, CA (Zone 9b) wrote:

This fern is sun tolerant and does well here in zone 9b. Rumohra adiantiformis is commonly available locally, and can be found for sale in most plant nurseries.

Native to South Africa, Madagascar, Argentina, Bolivia, Ecuador, Uruguay, Haiti, New Zealand, and Australia.

Positive MotherNature4 On May 3, 2006, MotherNature4 from Bartow, FL (Zone 9a) wrote:

This fern is commercially grown in north central Florida for the florist trade. It is easy to put a clump in a shady place in the yard and then forget it. It presses well for doing crafts, etc. Really holds up well.

Positive patp On May 2, 2006, patp from Summerville, SC (Zone 8a) wrote:

One of the best ferns to complement floral arrangements. Our Leatherleaf fern grows against a north-facing brick wall. It dies back in Winter and re-emerges in Spring.

Positive Suze_ On May 1, 2006, Suze_ from (Zone 7b) wrote:

One of my favorite ferns. Easily overwinters in a container on my south facing back porch.

Positive IslandJim On Sep 23, 2003, IslandJim from Keizer, OR (Zone 8b) wrote:

Attractive fern - I was wandering among some of them this last weekend and they were taller than I am [6 feet+]. At that size, the individual leaflets on the frond get as big as a kid's toy saber.


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

Wetumpka, Alabama
Canoga Park, California
El Cerrito, California
Long Beach, California
Merced, California
San Diego, California
Santa Barbara, California
Stockton, California
Ukiah, California
Bartow, Florida
Gainesville, Florida
Naples, Florida
Niceville, Florida
West Palm Beach, Florida
Winter Springs, Florida
Thomasville, Georgia
Many, Louisiana
Laurel, Mississippi
Conway, South Carolina
Summerville, South Carolina
Elgin, Texas
Fort Worth, Texas
Houston, Texas
Mc Kinney, Texas
Port Arthur, Texas
Richmond, Texas
Rowlett, Texas

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