Athyrium niponicum, the Japanese painted fern,[1] is a species of fern native to eastern Asia.[2]

This species was redefined as a member of genus Anisocampium in 2011 based on phylogenetic analyses,[3] but the genus has since been sunk into Athyrium.[4]

This deciduous fern has a creeping rhizome and a tuft-shape array of fronds. The fronds are variable in length, generally 30 to 75 centimeters long but occasionally over a meter in length. They have alternately arranged, subdivided pinnae. The spore-bearing sori on the undersides of the fertile pinnae are variable in shape, being "oblong, hooked, J-shaped, or horseshoe-shaped".[2]

The Latin specific epithet niponicum means "relating to Japan (Nippon)".[5]

This is a commonly cultivated fern, especially A. niponicum var. pictum. It thrives in many kinds of shady garden conditions and produces thick colonies of gray-green fronds with reddish midribs.[6] 'Pictum' is also considered to be a cultivar; varieties and cultivars are bred to achieve midribs in many shades of red.[7]

A. niponicum var. pictum has gained the Royal Horticultural Society's Award of Garden Merit.[8] as has the cultivar 'Silver Falls'.[9]



  1. ^ Athyrium niponicum. Integrated Taxonomic Information System (ITIS).
  2. ^ a b Anisocampium niponicum. Flora of China. eFloras.
  3. ^ Liu, Y.-C., et al. (2011). Molecular phylogeny and taxonomy of the fern genus Anisocampium (Athyriaceae). Taxon 60(3) 824-30.
  4. ^ PPG I (2016). "A community-derived classification for extant lycophytes and ferns". Journal of Systematics and Evolution. 54 (6): 563–603. doi:10.1111/jse.12229.
  5. ^ Harrison, Lorraine (2012). RHS Latin for Gardeners. United Kingdom: Mitchell Beazley. ISBN 184533731X.
  6. ^ Athyrium niponicum var. pictum. Missouri Botanical Garden.
  7. ^ Perry, L. Japanese Painted Fern. University of Vermont Extension, Department of Plant and Soil Science.
  8. ^ "RHS Plantfinder - Athyrium niponicum var. pictum". Royal Horticultural Society. Retrieved 12 January 2018.
  9. ^ "RHS Plantfinder - Athyrium niponicum var. pictum 'Silver Falls'". Royal Horticultural Society. Retrieved 19 January 2018.

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