Dwarf Crested Male Fern (Dryopteris filix-mas 'Fluctuosa Cristata')

Dryopteris_filix-mas_Fluctuosa_Cristata_closeup.JPG
D. fm  Fluc Crist.jpg
Dryopteris_filix-mas_Fluctuosa_Cristata_closeup.JPG
D. fm  Fluc Crist.jpg

Dwarf Crested Male Fern (Dryopteris filix-mas 'Fluctuosa Cristata')

8.00

This congested, crested, dwarf male fern has been offered in the US trade under several names for many years. I first received it as Dryopteris filix-mas 'Crispa Cristata' and did not become aware that this was incorrect until Reginald Kaye gave me what he considered to be 'Crispa Cristata'. His classic 1968 book, "Hardy Ferns," lists "fluctuosa cristata" as a synonym for "crispatissima cristata" which he describes as "more elaborately crisped and crested, (than "crispa cristata") terminal crest prominent." Going back further, Druery, in his cultivar bible, "British Ferns and Their Varieties", lists a form called 'Crispatissima Cristata" which he links as synonmous with 'Fluctuosa Cristata'. There is no mention of the cultivar 'Crispa Cristata' in Druery's book which must have been recognized later. When this cultivar arose and who gave it this name I have not yet discovered. Perhaps it is time to re-read all the 1959 British Fern Gazettes and see if the name and description were published before that date and can be legitimately used. Martin Rickard's photo layout in his fabulous book "The Plantfinder's Guide to Garden Ferns" shows what I believe to be what Druery calls 'Fluctuosa Cristata' based on Druery and Kaye's descriptions. To confuse maters even more Casa Flora opted to give this fern the "new name" of 'Paisley', since they were unwilling to spend any time researching what cultivar it might be. The pinnae are ruffled out in curled waves giving a crispy appearance and the pinnae tips and blade apex are crested to varying degrees thus making each frond appear somewhat variable from its neighbor. The upright growth and small stature make this form ideal to tuck into the rock garden, or to use in containers. As with all crisped or congested forms the fronds snap easily and should be kept from pathways or under woody plants that drop heavy leaves or branches. Whatever moniker you choose to call this it is another tough performer for dry shade! 

Frond Condition: Sub-evergreen

Mature Size: 6-12"

Origin: England, Victorian era cultivar

Cultural Requirements: Some Shade, Partly Shaded, Evenly Moist, Slightly Moist, Dryish

USDA Zones: 4,5,6,7,8,9

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