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Dryopteris (carthusiana)

Tara Luna
USDI NPS - Glacier National Park
West Glacier, Montana 59936
(406) 888-7835

Family Scientific Name: Dryopteridaceae
Family Common Name: Wood Fern family
Scientific Name: Dryopteris carthusiana (Villers) H.P. Fuchs Bull.
Common Synonym: Dryopteris austriaca (Jacq.) Woyner
Common Name: Spreading wood fern
Species Code: DRYCAR
Ecotype: Cedar/Devil's Club habitat, understory species,
General Distribution: D. carthusiana is a circumboreal species, common in moist forests and streambanks, from lowland to mid-montane elevations. It is found across Canada, the upper Mid-Western states and Washington, Idaho and northwestern Montana.
Propagation Goal: plants
Propagation Method: seed
ProductType: Container (plug)
Stock Type: 800 ml container
Time To Grow: 1 Years
Target Specifications: Stock Type: Container sporophyte<br> Height: 25 cm, 7 mature fronds<br> Caliper: n/a<br> Root System: Fully developed short rhizomatous root mass in container.
Propagule Collection: An indusium is present; collect fronds when indusium begins to lift and spore color is black. Fronds are collected by hand in July and August.
Propagule Processing: Fronds are placed spore surface down on butcher paper to collect spores in a room without air movement. Spores will appear as a fine dust on the paper after several days of drying.
Pre-Planting Treatments: Spores are surface sown on sterilized milled sphagnum peat moss in sterilized flats with drainage holes. Water spores with distilled water only and seal flats promptly after sowing with clear plastic wrap to seal in moisture and prevent fungal contamination. Place flats under 60 watt soft incandescent lights set at 12 hour per day illumination. Germination of spores will occur after 15 days. The thread like germ filaments can be seen with the aid of a microscope and will appear as a fine green threads on the surface of the medium. A constant temperature of 20 to 25C should be maintained throughout the growth of the prothalli.
Container Type and Volume: Sporophytes are translanted into 800 ml (4.5" containers).
Growing Medium: Promix #1 medium
Growing Area Preparation/
Annual Practices for Perennial Crops:
Greenhouse and Outdoor nursery. Sealed flats are grown under grow lights and sterile conditions, for 2 to 3 months. Continued growth under greenhouse conditions at 20 to 25C for 2 to 3 months, followed by growth in the outdoor shadehouse for 6 months.
Sowing Method: Transplanting sporophytes.
Establishment Phase: Spores germinate 10 to 20 days after sowing. The heart shaped prothalli continue to grow for 6 to 8 weeks. Examination of the prothalli under a microscope will reveal the presence of the reproductive structures; the antheridia (male) and archegonia (female), located along the margins and notch of the prothalli. At this stage, it is critical to maintain a thin film of distilled water over the surface of the prothalli for fertilization to occur. It is critical to maintain sterile conditions during germination and establishment. Trays must be inspected for fungal contamination on a regular basis. If fungal contamination occurs, remove infected portions of the medium and treat trays with a highly diluted (1/4 recommended rate)fungicide drench. Treat with dilute fungicide only if prothalli are well developed. Reseal flats immediately and water only with distilled water.
Once sporophytes appear, clear plastic is removed from the trays and aseptic conditions are no longer necessary.
Length of Establishment Phase: 2 to 3 months
Active Growth Phase: Appearance of sporophytes occurred 5 months after spore germination. Individual plants are transplanted from flats to pots when they are 4 cm tall. After establishment in the greenhouse, they are moved to the outdoor shadehouse in late spring. Plants are fertilized with time released Osmocote (13-13-13) and Micromax micronutrients mixed into medium. Plants are root tight in 800 ml (4.5") containers by fall, one year after germination.
Length of Active Growth Phase: 8 months
Hardening Phase: Plants are fertilized with 10-20-20 liquid NPK at 200 ppm in early fall. Plants are watered before winterization.
Length of Hardening Phase: 4 weeks
Harvesting, Storage and Shipping: Total Time To Harvest: 1 year
Harvest Date: September
Storage Conditions: Overwinter in outdoor shadehouse under insulating foam and snow.
Length of Storage: 5 months
Other Comments: Plants have been held successfully for two years in 800 ml (4.5 inch) containers in the nursery.
Root mass on mature plants consists of a series of short, stout rhizomes.
This species develops more slowly than other fern species.
Nursery grown plants produced spore bearing fronds 2 years after germination.
Vegetative Propagation Method: Divisions of rhizomes can easily be done in early spring.
References: Flora of the Pacific Northwest, Hitchcock and Cronquist, Univ. of Washington Press, 7th printing, 1990.
Ferns to Know and Grow, Foster, F.G., Timber Press, 1984.
Glacier Park Native Plant Nursery Propagation Records, unpublished.
Flora ofNorth America, Volume 2 Pteridophytes and Gymnosperms, FNA Editorial Committee, Oxford University Press, 1993.


Luna, Tara; Evans, Jeff; Wick, Dale. 2008. Propagation protocol for production of Container (plug) Dryopteris carthusiana (Villers) H.P. Fuchs Bull. plants 800 ml container; USDI NPS - Glacier National Park West Glacier, Montana. In: Native Plant Network. URL: http://NativePlantNetwork.org (accessed 2021/09/19). US Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, National Center for Reforestation, Nurseries, and Genetic Resources.

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