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Virginia chain fern
Woodwardia virginica

Copyright by: Bruce Holst
Sarasota County, Florida, November 2009

General Landscape Uses: Primarily recommended for natural landscapes and habitat restorations. Also an accent groundcover in shady, wet areas.

Availability: Grown by a few native plant nurseries in central and northern Florida.

Description: Medium to large herbaceous fern.

Dimensions: Typically 2-4 feet in height. Spreading from underground stems (rhizomes) and forming patches.

Growth Rate: Moderate.

Range: Eastern and central United States west to Texas and south to Miami-Dade and Collier counties.

Map of select IRC data from peninsular Florida.

Habitats: Swamps, marshes and wet hammocks.

Soils: Seasonally wet to moist, moderately well-drained to poorly-drained organic soils.

Nutritional Requirements: Moderate; can grow in nutrient poor soils, but needs some organic content to thrive.

Salt Water Tolerance: Low; does not tolerate flooding by salt or brackish water.

Salt Wind Tolerance: Low; salt wind may burn the leaves.

Drought Tolerance: Low; requires moist to wet soils and is intolerant of long periods of drought.

Light Requirements: Light shade.

Flower Color: N/A.

Flower Characteristics: There are no flowers; the plants reproduce by spores.

Flowering Season: Summer-fall.

Fruit: Inconspicuous spores.

Horticultural Notes: Can be grown from division, and from spores with difficulty.

Copyright by: Bruce Holst
Sarasota County, Florida, November 2009

Copyright by: Susan Trammell

Copyright by: Shirley Denton

Other data on Woodwardia virginica available from:

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