Sweet fern

Prepared by Jennifer L. D’Appollonio, Assistant Scientist, University of Maine, Orono, ME 04469. March 2011.

Scientific name: Comptonia peregrina (L.) J.M. Coult.; also Myrica aspleniifolia L.

Common name(s): sweet fern, sweet-fern

Links: USDA PLANTS Profile, NPIN Profile, Go Botany

Images: (to see enlargements [PC]: click on image, then right click and choose “view image”)


– perennial shrub

– flowers April-May.

Woody shrub up to 3′ tall with erect or spreading branches.  Leaves and stems covered with hairs. Leaves are alternate, linear 3″-6″ long and deeply lobed. Leaves and stems fragrant when crushed.