Southern Shield Fern, Southern Wood Fern, Southern Maiden Fern, River Fern, Widespread Maiden Fern

Thelypteris kunthii

Family: Thelypteridaceae
Genus: Thelypteris (the-LIP-ter-is) (Info)
Species: kunthii (KUN-thee-eye) (Info)
Synonym:Dryopteris normalis
Synonym:Dryopteris saxatilis
Synonym:Thelypteris macrorhizoma
Synonym:Thelypteris normalis
Synonym:Thelypteris unca




Foliage Color:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Characteristics:

Unknown - Tell us

Water Requirements:

Drought-tolerant; suitable for xeriscaping

Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Where to Grow:

Unknown - Tell us


24-36 in. (60-90 cm)


3-6 in. (7-15 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)

USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 C (30 F)

USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 C (35 F)

Sun Exposure:

Sun to Partial Shade

Light Shade


Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Color:


Bloom Time:




Other details:

Unknown - Tell us

Soil pH requirements:

6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)

6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)

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


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

Auburn, Alabama

Mobile, Alabama

Bartow, Florida

Daytona Beach, Florida

Fruitland Park, Florida

Gainesville, Florida

Largo, Florida

Miami, Florida

Rockledge, Florida

Sebring, Florida

Tallahassee, Florida

Augusta, Georgia

Marietta, Georgia

Moultrie, Georgia

Savannah, Georgia

Abita Springs, Louisiana

Baton Rouge, Louisiana

Geismar, Louisiana

Gonzales, Louisiana

Monroe, Louisiana

New Orleans, Louisiana

Florence, Mississippi

Chapel Hill, North Carolina

Elizabeth City, North Carolina

Ladys Island, South Carolina

Christiana, Tennessee

Austin, Texas (2 reports)

Dallas, Texas

Desoto, Texas

Fort Worth, Texas

Lubbock, Texas

Mc Kinney, Texas

New Caney, Texas

Spring, Texas (2 reports)

Victoria, Texas

Weatherford, Texas

Lexington, Virginia

Rocky Mount, Virginia

show all

Gardeners' Notes:


On Apr 26, 2008, CarloInTX from Denton, TX (Zone 8a) wrote:

Planted two of these in a moderately shady area of the yard (Denton, TX 76209). When winter came, they dried up and became a bunch of twigs which did not come back in spring. I want to try them again.


On Mar 25, 2007, Cretaceous from El Sobrante, CA (Zone 9b) wrote:

This fern is native to the USA (Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina, Texas), Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Bermuda, the Cayman Islands, Cuba, Haiti, Jamaica, Puerto Rico, and Turks and Caicos.


On Jul 6, 2006, princessnonie from New Caney, TX (Zone 8b) wrote:

In Zone 8b they freeze to the ground but reemerge in Spring, which probably keeps them from being too aggressive here..


On Aug 25, 2003, sybelle from Savannah, GA wrote:

We started with one little clump, dwarfed by the ivy that had overpowered an entire backwall of our house. The ivy went, the fern died in the fall. (Or so we thought). Next spring we redid the bed where it was and we found the fern roots. We had no hope but left them and covered them with a thin film of dirt. By the end of that fall the fern was more than 3 ft tall and had extended about 3 ft to each side. This year we hacked some root clumps out and spread them by one of the side fences. Hmmm talk about a nice cover for that cyclone fence!

Warning: the spores will spread all over the place and your fern will grown in every pot and every inch of dirt you have. Aggresive control is advised.


On Aug 5, 2002, smiln32 from Oklahoma City, OK (Zone 7a) wrote:

Native to the U.S. - Southern regions. Very graceful foliage plant. Tolerates moist and dry conditions. Fast grower. Easy to transplant.