Lady fern

Lady-fern, Athyrium filix-femina

Brian Eversham

Lady-fern, Athyrium filix-femina

Brian Eversham

Lady fern

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Scientific name: Athyrium filix-femina
One of the prettiest hardy ferns, the lady fern is delicate and lacy, with ladder-like foliage. It makes a good garden fern, providing attractive cover for wildlife.

Top facts


Height: up to 1.2m

Conservation status


When to see

March to November


The lady fern is a deciduous fern that prefers acidic conditions, but can be found on a wide variety of soil types. Look out for it in woodlands and along shady hedgerows. Like all ferns, it prospers in damp, shady conditions and reproduces using spores.

What to look for

The lady fern is one of a number of similar species, including buckler-ferns and male-fern, which are difficult to tell apart. The fronds of lady ferns are usually held horizontally and droop at the ends; they are three-times pinnate and yellowy-green.

Where to find


Did you know?

The lady fern is from a different family than its namesake opposite - the male-fern. It was so-named for its elegance and delicacy.