The Temperate Database is in the process of being updated, with new records being added and old ones being checked and brought up to date where necessary. This record has not yet been checked and updated.
Common Name: Fragrant Woodfern
Dryopteris fragrans is a Evergreen Fern up to 0.20 metres tall.
It is harvested from the wild for local use as a food and source of materials.
Although we have found no reports for this species, a number of ferns contain carcinogens so some caution is advisable[
The fresh plant contains thiaminase, an enzyme that robs the body of its vitamin B complex. In small quantities this enzyme will do no harm to people eating an adequate diet that is rich in vitamin B, though large quantities can cause severe health problems. The enzyme is destroyed by heat or thorough drying, so cooking the plant will remove the thiaminase[
]. However, there have been reports for other species of ferns suggesting that even cooked fronds can have a long term harmful effect. Some caution is therefore advised.
N. Europe. N. Asia. N. America.
Rocks and screes in Arctic Finland[
]. Shaded cliffs and talus, often of limestone at elevations of 50 -1800 metres in northern N. America[
Prefers an acid soil[
], requiring a well-drained gritty soil in a sunny or shady position[
]. Dislikes heavy clay. Prefers a good supply of water at its roots but succeeds in dry shade and tolerates drought when it is established.
Members of this genus are rarely if ever troubled by browsing deer[
A very ornamental plant[
The leaves are made into a tea[
The plant has been used as a bedding[
Spores - can be sown at any time of the year in a greenhouse. Surface sow on a sterilised compost and keep moist, possibly by placing the pot in a plastic bag. Germinates in 1 - 3 months at 20°c. Pot up small clumps of the plants when they are large enough to handle and grow on in a shady part of the greenhouse until large enough to plant out.
Division in spring. Larger clumps can be replanted direct into their permanent positions, though it is best to pot up smaller clumps and grow them on in a cold frame until they are rooting well. Plant them out in the spring.