Onoclea sensibilis, also called Sensitive Fern as its specific epithet might imply, is an Eastern North American native fern with broad, almost tropical-looking fronds throughout the growing season. The fronds emerge as reddish crosiers, unfurling and maturing to be light, limey green in color, standing out on long stiples (stalks) against the dark forest floor. Small fertile fronds rise above the lime green sterile fronds in mid-summer, beginning to take on a dark brown tone by August and September. The individual bead-like segments of these fertile fronds make for an interesting addition to a seasonal floral arrangement, or even just as a textural component in the fall and winter gardens. It’s not just called Sensitive Fern for no reason, however: this fern is notorious for being quite dramatic about winter damage, and will die back to the ground immediately upon the first frost. If allowed to thrive in its preferred environment with wet, consistently moist soil, Onoclea sensibilis will happily spread by rhizome and naturalize itself in its habitat, providing a dense canopy of fronds that frogs, toads, and salamanders use for shelter.