Polypodium glycyrrhiza

licorice fern

  • © Richie Steffen / Great Plant Picks

Outstanding Qualities

Almost omnipresent in the crooks of big-leaf maples throughout the forests of the maritime Pacific Northwest, licorice fern makes a fantastic garden addition. What many don't realize is this fern will also grow in a garden bed as well as on a dead tree trunk. The dark green fronds add a wonderful fern element to a woodland garden or shady bed. Just remember when planting that it is summer dormant so, if you don't want an empty spot at that time you may want to place another plant nearby that will provide cover for that area, but one that will go winter dormant so the licorice fern can stand out.

Quick Facts

Plant Type: fern

Foliage Type: deciduous

Plant Height: 1 ft. 6 in. (0.46 meters)

Plant Width/Spread: 1 ft. 6 in. (0.46 meters)

Hardiness: USDA Zones 5 to 8

Sun/Light Exposure: light to dappled or deep shade

Water Requirements: drought tolerant when established

Seasonal Interest: fall to spring native fern foliage

Culture Notes
Plant in light to deep shade in a garden bed with well-drained soil or on a dead tree trunk or log. This native, summer dormant (deciduous) fern will not need summer watering.
Geek Notes
Native to the maritime habitats of western Canada and United States from southern Alaska and Yukon Territory, to British Columbia, Washington, Oregon, and California.