More About Comptonia peregrina
- Despite its name, it is not a fern, but actually a deciduous shrub
- Insignificant, greenish flowers, both male and female
- Brown burrs contain edible nutlets
- Medium-green leaves, resembling fern fronds, are green and brown in the fall
- Mounding shrub, spreading by rhizomes
- Bloom Time: Early summer
Comptonia serves as a host plant for some species of butterflies and moths. Leaves have a pleasant fragrance, especially when crushed.
Sweet Fern Growing and Maintenance Tips
Although not a legume, comptonia is a nitrogen fixer. Grows best in full sun, tolerating some shade and thrives in dry, slightly acidic, sandy soil, withstanding poor, even salty soils. If given room, it will colonize (spreading by rhizomes). It is deer resistant.
Comptonia peregrina Characteristics
Average to Dry Soils
Flowering TimeLt. Spr-Sum