Deer fern is a perennial evergreen fern species that is circumpolar--although widely disjunct--in distribution (Douglas et al. 1998). In North America, it is found from Alaska south to Idaho and California. In British Columbia, it is abundant in coastal forests where it is found in "mesic to wet forests, peat bogs, streambanks and clearings in the lowland and montane zones" (Douglas et al. 1998). This species is widely used in coastal gardens.
Deer fern has two types of fronds, vegetative and reproductive. The vegetative fronds form an attractive, evergreen rosette of broadly spreading, glossy fronds that hug the ground. Later in the season a set of finer textured, vertical, spore-bearing fronds arise from the centre of this rosette. BC is blessed with beautiful native ferns among which deer fern must surely be included.
Note Author: Gary Lewis, Phoenix Perennials
Tufted evergreen perennial from a short, thick rhizome.
Dimorphic; sterile leaves evergreen, spreading, lanceolate, 10-60 cm long, 2-10 cm wide, pinnately cleft (regularly deeply lobed); fertile leaves erect, narrowly lanceolate, 20-50 cm long, 1-pinnate with linear segments up to 7 cm long, 1-2 mm wide, withering soon after shedding spores.
Our plants are generally more robust than their European counterpart and are referred by some authors (Love & Love 1966, 1968) to the amphiberingian ssp. nipponicum (Kunze) Love & Love.
If more than one illustration is available for a species (e.g., separate illustrations were provided for two subspecies) then links to the separate images will be provided below. Note that individual subspecies or varietal illustrations are not always available.
Illustration Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia
||Value / Class
Moisture Regime (SMR)
[0 - very xeric; 4 - mesic;
8 - hydric]
of field plots
species was recorded in:
BEC Zone Class
All BEC Zones (# of stations/zone) species was recorded in
|CDF(9), CMA(3), CWH(3181), ESSF(1), ICH(24), MH(227)|
Source: Klinkenberg 2013
Synonyms and Alternate Names:
Blechnum spicant subsp. nipponicum auct. non (Kunze) A. Löve & D. Löve
Blechnum spicant var. elongatum (Hook.) B. Boivin
Lomaria spicant (L.) Desv.
Osmunda spicant L.
Struthiopteris spicant (L.) Weiss