This is a fairly common fern in Missouri often encountered in the rich soils of bottomland forests and wooded slopes. Lowland brittle fern appears in early spring and often goes dormant during hot, dry summer conditions. Dormancy can be avoided or delayed in home landscapes where some pampering is an option. Plant this small fern in shaded flowerbeds with rich, organic soil where it can spread to create an early-season ground cover.
Also known as southern fragile fern, it was once considered to be a variety of Cystopteris fragilis. This is the only Cystopteris species in Missouri that is primarily terrestrial. Other species are typically found on rock ledges.
Uses: Deer and rabbit resistant, groundcover, proclaim the end of winter
Spore-producing: April - July
Height: 6 to 15 inches
Space: 12 to 18 inches
Sun: Medium to full shade
Moisture: Average to moist