Dryopteris affinis

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D. affinis AGM (W) (syn. D. pseudomas) golden-scaled male fern Hight/Spread 100cm or even very much more. A large fern for woodland gardening; one of our best British natives, it is a robust and striking fern, often towering head and shoulders above the other woodland ferns. The fronds are stout and invariably bipinnate, and as the vernacular name indicates, the stems are covered in golden scales, especially at the base. It likes a little shade but is generally easy to grow. There are a number of subspecies recognized by botanists, of which D. affinis subsp. affinis, D. affinis subsp. cambrensis and D. affinis subsp. boreri are among the best of garden ferns, though hardly any affinis will ever disappoint. All D. affinis are apogamous, which mean that they reproduce asexually, and therefore its large number of subspecies and cultivars always breed true from spores, and all make good garden plants

Among the best are D. a. x complexa ‘Stablerae’, with stiff, crispy fronds, which are quite distinctive but not especially beautiful. 'Revolvens' is a strong grower with fronds that curl slightly giving it a tubular appearance. ‘Cristata The King’,(Shown) the best of the crested forms, with broad fronds and regular cresting on the frond edges and tips. 'Graniceps Askew' and the several forms called 'Polydactilla' are similar to the 'King' and for the most part good garden plants.

Some nurseries still sell a form called 'Robusta' which is an old and now outdated subspecies name, now used for a cultivar, which is one of the biggest and boldest ferns for dry shade.

‘Cristata Angustata’ AGM, which has tall, narrow, elegant fronds with fine, even cresting like a lace frill.