Southern shield fern
Thelypteris kunthii

Landscape Uses:

Accent groundcover in shady areas.

Ecological Restoration Notes:

Native plant nurseries.
Medium herbaceous fern.
Typically 1-3 feet in height. About as broad as tall.
Growth Rate:
Southeastern United States west to Texas and south to the Monroe County Keys; West Indies, Mexico, Central America and northern South America. Rare in the Monroe County Keys and either very rare or absent in the middle Keys.
A wide variety of forested ecosystems.
Wet to moist, well-drained sandy, limestone, or organic soils, with humusy top layer; rarely on peat on tree islands in the Everglades.
Nutritional Requirements:
Moderate; can grow in nutrient poor soils, but needs some organic content to thrive.
Salt Water Tolerance:
Low; does not tolerate long-term flooding by salt or brackish water.
Salt Wind Tolerance:
Moderate; grows near salt water, but is protected from direct salt spray by other vegetation.
Drought Tolerance:
Moderate; generally requires moist soils, but tolerant of short periods of drought once established.
Light Requirements:
Light shade to full sun.
Flower Color:
Flower Characteristics:
There are no flowers; the plants reproduce by spores.
Flowering Season:
All year.
Inconspicuous spores.
Wildlife and Ecology:
Horticultural Notes:
Can be grown from spores. Small plants are easily transplanted.

George D. Gann
Keith A. Bradley