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ferns for summer & autumn coursework

To be candid, most ferns are notable for their greenery all year round, however, there are few that turn color in autumn and still others that will go dormant...either in winter as one might expect, or in summer when all moisture has disappeared for the season.  In residential gardens, most people will appreciate their lushness in shady locations, but an argument can be made for enjoying the coppery leaves of deciduous species as the weather turns cool.

What may surprise new designers is the variety of textures and forms that are available for their plant palette.  Some are small for intimate spaces while others are quite dramatic with their tree-like forms.  And this brings up another observation; too many times I have seen the tree ferns located under building eaves or too close to buildings where their growth stretches toward light (not full sun in most California microclimates) or brush against walls and crush themselves against ceilings.  Wrong plant for the wrong place.  What's right? If a substantial fern is needed where tree ferns are inappropriate, consider our native species, Woodwardia fimbriata, that will fit the specification.

The following list is fluid, meaning it will change as new information is made available, including new species and status on campus.  We welcome any updates, corrections, or comments to continue to make this page useful to students at West Valley College.

If a scientific name is linked, please feel free to find additional information via this website.

scientific name

Blechnum spicant

Cyathea cooperi

Dicksonia antarctica

Dryopteris erythrosora

Polypodium glycyrrhiza

Polystichum munitum

Pteridium aquilinum var. pubescens

Woodwardia fimbriata

common name

deer fern

Australian tree fern

Tasmanian tree fern

autumn fern

licorice fern

Western sword fern

Western bracken fern

giant chain fern

campus location






Science and Math


Library; Che; Cilker: South

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