A comprehensive database of Tennessee native plants
Lowland Bladderfern, Lowland Fragile Fern, Lowland Brittle Fern, Southern Fragile Fern
Cystopteris protusa (C. fragilis var. protusa)
6-18 inches tall by 6-18 inches spread. Part to full shade; moderately wet to medium moisture level; loamy or rocky soil with decaying leaf litter; slightly acid to neutral pH.
Growth/ Colonizing Habit: Spreads by creeping rhizomes into colonies.
Native Region: Middle and East Tennessee
Small, somewhat airy fern that is excellent for shaded rock gardens. Emerges in very early spring. Strong grower, producing new fronds all season long. Easy to grow if its cultural needs are met. Fronds may turn brown in midsummer, but new fronds are produced. Fronds have brittle central stems and break easily, hence the common name. Needs a sheltered location protected from prevailing winds. Native to deciduous woods, edges of wooded bluffs, shaded banks of rivers, wooded areas along rocky streams, upper slopes of ravines, and shaded areas along cliffs.