Mystery Fern

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Date Photo Taken: 06/17/2012
Location: Clarkesville, GA
Posted By: HappyTeacher


I live in NE Georgia and this fern appeared (just one) about 10 years ago. Since then, it has multiplied and spread like crazy. It grows quite tall (about 4 ft) and does well in shade and some sun. I’ve seen seen this species in any nursery and can’t get anywhere using fern identification resources.


  1. HappyTeacher Registered says:

    My typo… should read — I have NEVER seen this species in any nursery.

    June 22nd, 2012 at 10:10 am
  2. Buck Unregistered says:

    This appears to be Southern Bracken (Pteridium aquilinum var. pseudocaudatum). It spreads quite fast, as you said, and is very pretty, but can become a pest if not contained.

    June 22nd, 2012 at 11:17 am
  3. Bobby Flower Fanatic says:

    Just curious, is this growing inside the remains of an old barn or homestead?

    June 22nd, 2012 at 12:15 pm
  4. HappyTeacher Unregistered says:

    Thanks for responding & more information:

    Buck — We can rule out bracken fern. This fern is not a walking fern and it is not common. Not only have I not seen this fern in a nursery, I should point out… I have never seen this fern ANYWHERE!

    Bobby — your question is intriguing… I live on some acreage that hadn’t been “developed” until I/we arrived about 12 years ago. This property was once part of a large land lot that was deeded under Georgia’s land lottery to a family of orphans. There is an old homestead on the other end of our property — about 1/4 mile away.

    June 22nd, 2012 at 6:15 pm
  5. Angelyn Flower Fanatic says:

    I searched through three field guides to ferns. The best I can tell after using the key in the Peterson Field Guide to Ferns is that this is in the Dryopteris genus (a wood fern). The species can only be determined by knowing some more characteristics relating to the sori (spore-bearing parts).

    June 22nd, 2012 at 10:45 pm
  6. HappyTeacher Unregistered says:

    Angelyn… thanks for your research. I agree with you about it being in the Wood Fern family. I’ve googled and searched tons of photos. I still haven’t seen one exactly like mine, but this is as close to identification as I’ve been. I’m just puzzled that it just appeared one year out of nowhere. The 2nd year started moving new plants to new areas of my property and they’ve done quite well everywhere. New ones love to appear in crevices of my retaining wall and others just pop up pretty far away from a parent plant. Love them and I’ve shared them with tons of people. Thanks again!

    June 24th, 2012 at 10:30 pm
  7. Suzanne Unregistered says:

    Could it be Mariana Maiden Fern? I have this fern and it spreads quite easily. Mine is about 3 – 4 feet tall. It’s one of my favorites!

    July 17th, 2012 at 5:11 pm
  8. Glad Unregistered says:

    Yes!!!! This is it,Suzanne. I googled this fern and it is exactly what I have. I am so excited to finally know it’s name. I have never seen one like it anywhere before. thanks for responding.

    July 26th, 2012 at 11:41 am
  9. LCGailey Unregistered says:

    HappyTeacher, I have ferns in my front yard that I purchased 12 years ago that look like this. Mine are Southern Woodland Ferns, about 4 feet tall, taller if help up straight. They are beautiful soft ferns with lovely movement in the wind. We live north of Atlanta, in the Mareitta area. I have a dense patch now but I love that they spread, they frame my front walkway. Enjoy.

    October 16th, 2015 at 11:47 am

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