Auriculate Lady Fern (Athyrium oblitescens)

AthyrOptoph.jpg
Athy oto garden.jpg
AthyrOptoph.jpg
Athy oto garden.jpg

Auriculate Lady Fern (Athyrium oblitescens)

8.00

Formerly/Also sold as: Athyrium otophorum

Lustrous broad black scales cloak the emerging ghostly creamy yellow new croziers which elongate into chalky green spear-head shaped blades. This symmetrical vase-shaped fern with graceful arching fronds is supported by a glowing burgundy network structure. This fern will persist much longer than the Japanese painted fern into the early frosts of autumn. I was fortunate to receive spores for this population which is now being produced by commercial fern growers from Ray Coughlin. Ray and Rita had the most magical garden I have ever seen in England beginning with a pristine rock garden and extending back hundreds of yards into marvelous trees and shrubs skirted with a mind boggling collection of Victorian ferns and other rare fern species. I cherish the wonderful visits I had with them with my mentor, Jimmy Dyce, and all the fabulous fern treasures they shared with me over the years.  On a recent trip to Japan I discovered that the form commonly sold in the commerial market, once identified as A. otophorum, is actually A. oblitescens!

Frond Condition:  Deciduous
Mature Height:  1-2'
Origin:  Asia
Cultural Requirements:  Partly Shaded, Full Shade, Evenly Moist
USDA Zones4, 5, 6, 7, 8

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Why we love it:  Although it is deciduous and closely related to Japanese Painted Ferns, the Auriculate Lady Fern persists much longer into the cold season before collapsing its foliage.  Its somewhat rounded, lime and olive green pinnae stand out against the deep burgundy tones of the stipe, lighting up shady spots in the garden while adding color and texture.