The botanical name is Dryopteris ludoviciana (pronounced dry-OP-ter-iss loo-dough-vik-ee-AH-nuh) which literally means "oak fern from Louisiana." According to the USDA PLANTS database, its range is from North Carolina and Kentucky southward to Florida and westward to Texas. It's usually found growing near the coast or in the coastal plain.
Southern Wood Fern is also known as Aspidium ludovicianum, Dryopteris floridana and Nephrodium floridanum. Guess why? It's found in more places in Florida than in Louisiana. So another common name is Florida Shield Fern.
You don't need to live near the coast to grow Florida Shield Fern. It performs well in USDA zones 6 to 10.
Florida Shield Fern grows to 48 inches high and up to 24 inches across. Dig planting holes about 18 inches to 24 inches apart. The holes should be no deeper than that of the root balls. Water the plants in their pots, then plant them, watering more as you go. When planted, the tops of the root balls should be visible; do not bury them under soil.
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