Spreading Wood Fern

(Pre-Order) Out Of Stock
$11.95
Current Stock:
Availability:
Available Fall 2020. Pre-order plants will ship within two weeks of their release date.
Other Names:
Northern Buckler-Fern, Alpine Buckler Fern, Spiny Wood, Northern Spreading Wood Fern, Crested Wood Fern, Arching Wood Fern
Latin Name:
Dryopteris Expansa

Size required
This plant will be ready to ship on 2020-11-02. If you wish to pre-order this item, please select a pot size and place your order for this item alone (do not bundle it with any other products). We will mail you the item as soon as it is available.

***WILL BE AVAILABLE AGAIN FALL 2020***

Spreading Wood Fern is a perennial Western forest fern with ornamental fronds and an edible rootstock.

Edible Uses

The Spreading Wood Fern is a native food with a long history of use.  The rhizomes are bitter when eaten raw, but after cooking they are said to develop a rich, sweet flavor that has been compared to sweet potatoes.  

Ornamental Qualities

The Spreading Wood Fern is at home in moist conifer forests, shady stream banks and rocky sub-alpine forests.  It has delicate finely-divided, dark green fronds that are roughly triangular in shape. They make an excellent shade plant and will thrive on the dark and damp northern sides of a houses where little else will grow. Alternative they make an excellent understory plant in moist forests, especially where the soil is acidic, like under conifers. 

Environment and Culture

Commonly associated with streams and damp forests as well as rocky alpine crevices, the Spreading Wood Fern thrives wherever it has shade, moisture and acidic soils. They will grow well with other acid lovers like Evergreen Huckleberry, Serviceberry, Buffaloberry, Salal and alongside fellow ferns like Fiddlehead Fern.  Make sure to chose a shady, damp location for your Spreading Wood Ferns, preferably with acidic soil. The plants will propagate from spores as well as division from new growth.

Northwest Native American tribes today still deeply value this special plant.  The wood fern remains the preferred edible fern species of various coastal NW Native American groups.  Despite great cultural losses, they continue to work towards restoring ecologies throughout the region, to steward important plants like this and sustain their cultural heritage and wisdom.  These strong and recovering peoples and plants deserve our respect, gratitude, and reparations. (Learn more & how to help on our Charitable Giving page.) 

Harvest, Care, and Preparation

The roots and fronds converge into a multi-stemmed rootball that is often compared to a pineapple in appearance.  It's said to be best to harvest the rhizomes in autumn, carefully digging up the pineapple-like root-stalk. Roots that are dull and dark are not very good eating. Instead, look for thick, white, living roots. Break these off and place the root-ball back in the ground so it will continue to grow. Peel off the rough, dark exterior to reveal the softer, lighter parts. 

Slow cook the rhizomes in a crockpot at a low temperature for up to 24 hours. They can be eaten like a potato or, once cooked, added to soups or stews.  

Native Range: CA, OR, WA, ID, BC
USDA zones: 
Ease of Care: Easy, when grown in the right conditions
Deer Resistance: High
Light Requirements: Full Shade-Part Shade
Soil Type: Grows best in acidic clay soils.
Water Requirements: Moist-Wet
Pollination: Self Fertile
Bearing Age: N/A
Size at Maturity: Up to 3 Feet
Harvest Time: Fall/Winter

Pot Sizing Guide

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Our policy lasts 30 days. If 30 days have gone by since your purchase, unfortunately we can’t offer you a refund or exchange. To be eligible for a return, your item must be unused and in the same condition that you received it. It must also be in the original packaging. Gift cards are non-refundable. Once your return is received and inspected, we will send you an email to notify you that we have received your returned item. We will also notify you of the approval or rejection of your refund. If you are approved, then your refund will be processed, and a credit will automatically be applied to your credit card or original method of payment, within a certain amount of days.