Sensitive fern is a deciduous, spreading fern with eye-catching fertile and infertile fronds. Infertile fronds are a pale green, rather large, and deeply pinnate. Fertile fronds are formed later in the season with leaflets that look like little beads. What you’re seeing is tiny leaflets curled up tight covering a clump of spores. The fertile fronds start out green and gradually turn brown, persisting through winter as an attractive structure. Sensitive fern is usually found in damp areas, but can be planted in average garden soil in light shade. It will tolerate more sun if consistently moist. It can be an aggressive spreader in the right conditions.
Leaves: Light-medium green, deeply pinnate, fertile fronds are dark brown and bead-like
Exposure: Part-light shade
Fauna: Low wildlife value, may provide cover to small animals
Seeds: Fertile fronds persist through winter and are very attractive
Deer Resistance: High
Native Status: NC Native, common throughout the state
Provenance: North Carolina ecotype, asexually propagated