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Doodia Aspera, which is a native of Australia, is known as the Prickly Rasp fern, as it feels coarse to the touch. Rough Ruby has evergreen fronds that emerge pink, shade to striking red shades then mature to deep glossy green. Shady spot. Any reasonable soil. 15 in. Available in a 9cm and 2 litre pot.


Doodia is a small genus of ferns of only around 11 species, all native to Australiasia, where the thrive in damp spots with some shade, notably around the margins of rocky woodland. If the name sounds a little odd, the explanation is that the genus is named to honour Samuel Doody, a 17th century botanist who started his professional life as an apothecary, following in his father’s footsteps; then, in his thirties, he took on responsibility for managing the Apothecaries’ Garden at Chelsea (later to become known as the Chelsea Physic Garden).

Our early experience of this fern suggests there is much to like about it. It is colourful, evergreen, seemingly robust in habit and vigorous in growth. We see similarities with the larger Blechnum Volcano, but one ace that Doodia Rough Ruby has up its sleeve is that is rather more tolerant of cold winter weather than the former.

As for growing conditions, a bit of shade goes without saying. Soil should be on the acid side of the spectrum (though we grow it neutral) and should not dry out completely in summer. Doodia Aspera is rated H4 by the RHS, so it will take down to -10C, but if things are going to get intensely frosty in winter, a bit of straw or other protection will prevent too much damage to the evergreen fronds. Without that, we have found that exposure to sub zero temperatures can lead to the fern adopting a deciduous habit with fronds dying back and fresh regrowth come the spring.

Doodia Rough Ruby makes a brief appearance early on in this French language video on evergreen ferns (Blechnum Volcano crops up towards the end, just for good measure).

Doodia Aspera Rough Ruby is a hardy evergreen fern characterised by new growth that is red shading to pink with mature fronds becoming dark green suitable for shade.

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