- Shield Fern - Thelypteris Kunthii Hardy Planting Zones- 7-10 Sun or Shade – Sun and Partial Shade Mature Height - 24-48" Mature Width- 12-48" Bloom Season – Non-flowering Gardener Status- Beginner
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The Crested Shield Fern grows very narrow, erect fronds about 28 inches long and 5 inches wide. When still young, it is usually green year-round. However, when fully mature, it turns brown. The stipe grows up to ten inches long and has a swollen base. Crested Shield Fern can grow up to 48 inches tall and more abundant in rainforests and tropical climates. This fern looks good planted among other plants that have color because this plant is only green and will last year-round until heavy winter and frost appears then it will turn dark brown and die out. This fern provides lots of green foliage. Crested Shield Fern was also known as Thelypteris Cristata. It thrives best when planted in hardy planting zones 5-8. Growth for this fern can be up to 4 feet.
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It has many veins and leaves. The leaves have a leathery texture to them. They are also all parallel to the ground, which is typically not a typical characteristic of a fern. They all come off from the main central stem. Each stem can have up to 20-30 different sections per stem. This fern overall looks like a shield and looks very distinct. The sterile leaves are evergreen, whereas the fertile fronds will die back in the winter. On the underside of the leaf are the spore dots. They are round in shape and are lined up in two rows. It also has fiddleheads that will emerge in the spring. These are light green and covered in tan scales that look papery. Grow it in the shade for the best look. In its native habitat; found in very wet areas; found in damp meadows or swamps located in forests.