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Spreading Woodfern
Dryopteris expansa

About Spreading Woodfern (Dryopteris expansa) Dryopteris expansa, alpine buckler fern or spreading wood fern, is a species of fern native to cool temperate and subarctic regions of the Northern Hemisphere, south at high altitudes in mountains to Spain and Greece in southern Europe, to Japan in eastern Asia, and to central California in North America. The species was first described from Germany. It prefers cool, moist mixed or evergreen forests and rock crevices on alpine slopes, often growing on rotting logs and tree stumps and rocky slopes. It is characteristically riparian in nature, and is especially associated with stream banks. It has a stout, woody, creeping or ascending stock with large, green lacy fronds 10-60 centimeter (rarely 90 centimeter) long. The deltate fronds are bipinnate at the base, pinnate toward the tip. The rhizome is erect or ascending, often producing offshoots. sori occur medially on the underside of the pinnae. Propagation is by spores and vegetatively by division of the rhizome.
Plant Description
Plant Type

Max. Height
2.6 ft (0.8 m)


Native Status

Natural Setting
Site Type
wooded places, banks of streams, creeks

Shade, Part Shade

Elevation ?
3' - 4191'

Annual Precip. ?
11.8" - 90.0"

Summer Precip. ?
0.29" - 2.50"

Coldest Month ?
32.3° F - 49.7° F

Hottest Month ?
58.2° F - 72.2° F

Humidity ?
0.05 vpd - 16.90 vpd

Sunset Zones ?
1, 4*, 5*, 6*, 7*, 14*, 15*, 16*, 17*

Landscaping Information
Nursery Availability
Never or Almost Never Available

Other Names
Common Names
Common Wood Fern

Sources include: Wikipedia. All text shown in the "About" section of these pages is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License. Plant observation data provided by the participants of the California Consortia of Herbaria, Sunset information provided by Jepson Flora Project. Propogation from seed information provided by the Santa Barbara Botanical Garden from "Seed Propagation of Native California Plants" by Dara E. Emery. Sources of plant photos include CalPhotos, Wikimedia Commons, and independent plant photographers who have agreed to share their images with Calscape. Other general sources of information include Calflora, CNPS Manual of Vegetation Online, Jepson Flora Project, Las Pilitas, Theodore Payne, Tree of Life, The Xerces Society, and information provided by CNPS volunteer editors, with special thanks to Don Rideout. Climate data used in creation of plant range maps is from PRISM Climate Group, Oregon State University, using 30 year (1981-2010) annual "normals" at an 800 meter spatial resolution.

Links:   Jepson eFlora Taxon Page  CalPhotos  Wikipedia  Calflora

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