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Coastal Woodfern, California Wood Fern, Coastal Wood Fern, Western Wood Fern
Dryopteris arguta

Family: Dryopteridaceae
Genus: Dryopteris (dry-OP-ter-iss) (Info)
Species: arguta (ar-GOO-tuh) (Info)
Synonym:Aspidium argutum




6-12 in. (15-30 cm)


6-9 in. (15-22 cm)

9-12 in. (22-30 cm)

12-15 in. (30-38 cm)

15-18 in. (38-45 cm)

18-24 in. (45-60 cm)

24-36 in. (60-90 cm)


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)

USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)

Sun Exposure:

Light Shade

Partial to Full Shade

Full Shade


Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Color:


Bloom Time:



Grown for foliage





Other details:

Drought-tolerant; suitable for xeriscaping

This plant is fire-retardant

This plant is resistant to deer

Provides winter interest

Suitable for growing in containers

Soil pH requirements:

4.5 or below (very acidic)

4.6 to 5.0 (highly acidic)

5.1 to 5.5 (strongly acidic)

5.6 to 6.0 (acidic)

6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)

6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

Patent Information:

Unknown - Tell us

Propagation Methods:

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

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:

Alameda, California

El Cerrito, California

Oakland, California

Gardeners' Notes:


On Mar 26, 2007, Cretaceous from El Sobrante, CA (Zone 9b) wrote:

A California native fern which has thrived here in zone 9b. Ours is planted in very acidic topsoil, which has local clay soil beneath (not well drained).

Unfortunately, this species is known to be associated with Phytophthora ramorum, a plant pathogen which causes Sudden Oak Death (SOD). For this reason Dryopteris arguta is not commonly cultivated and is very hard to find in nurseries.

Because of the pathogen association, it would be extremely unwise to take a plant from the wild.

See the USDA APHIS page for more information:



On Sep 16, 2004, petevllx from Oakland, CA wrote:

this fern is common in woods around the san francisco bay area. it is easy to grow from root divisions - although it might disappear on you for the first 6-8 months and then come back. it's a pretty evergreen fern, very suitable for woodland gardens. although it is very drought resistant, it does much better if it is in soaking wet clay all winter. you can easily tell it apart from other native ferns by the veined pattern in the leaves.


On Sep 15, 2004, smiln32 from Oklahoma City, OK (Zone 7a) wrote:

This plant is a U.S. native and grows along the West Coast.