Family: Dryopteridaceae

Scientific Name: Athyrium niponicum pictum Ursula's Red

Common Name: Ursula's Red Japanese Painted Fern

DescriptionA Japanese Painted fern with vivid coloration in the foliage.
Plant TypeFerns - Hardy
Hardiness Zone(4)5-8
Sunlightbest foliage color with some dappled sun, best grown in partial shade to shade, easily scorches in the hot dry sun
Moisturemoist, average, avoid dry sites
Soil & Siteaverage, humusy
FlowersFerns do not produce flowers. They were around prior to the evolution of the flowering plants (angiosperms).
Leavesfronds are silver with a flush of wine red, stipes (stems) are purple red color most intense in the cooler times of the growing season and becomes stable on plants of two years of age.
Dimensions18 by 18 plus inches (HS)
MaintenanceLike all ferns, Ursula's Red likes a top coating of compost each year.
Propagationdivision, will show a degree of variation in colors when grown from spores
Native SiteSpecies plant native to China, Korea, Taiwan and Japan.
Cultivar OriginBred by Ursula Hertz of South Carolina, USA.
Misc FactsWas tested in the 2002-2014 Chicago Botanic trials and received a 5 out of 5. Athyrium is for some authorities derived from Greek athuros (spiritless) with reference to botanical characteristics of lady-fern (Athyrium filix-femina), and for others from Greek anthyros (doorless) or anthoros (breeding well), both the latter in relation to the reproductive cycle and spores. (
Author's NotesI have seen many plantings of various cultivars of the Japanese Painted Fern. One thing is evident. They look vary different depending on the growing site, and time of year. Some seem to revert or reseed back to one of their original parents. Secret to growing these: moist, humusy soil, some dappled sun and avoid dry.
Notes & Reference#217-Chicago Botanic Garden (, #145-Plant Lives, (Sue Eland), #228-Encyclopedia of Garden Ferns (Sue Olsen)
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