Squirrel's Foot Fern Davallia mariesii

👤 Non-toxic to humans
🐾 Non-toxic to pets
🌸 Not blooming
🍪 Not edible
‍🌱 Easy-care
squirrel's foot fern


Davallia mariesii, often recognized by its common name squirrel's foot fern, exhibits a unique and attractive appearance. This fern is known for its distinctive, creeping rhizomes that resemble furry little animal feet, hence the moniker. The rhizomes typically form a dense mat and are covered with a fine, brownish fuzz, which gives them a soft and plush look. The fronds of the squirrel's foot fern emerge from these rhizomes and unfurl to reveal a delicate and finely divided leaf structure. The foliage is typically a vibrant green, and the compound leaves give the plant a feathery, lush aspect. Each leaf is further divided into smaller leaflets, which are triangular in shape and create a pattern that is both intricate and light in appearance. The leaves are supported by slender, yet sturdy, stems that arch gracefully outward, giving the plant a gentle and flowing demeanor. This elegant structure allows the fern to create a soft, textured visual impact in the environment it inhabits. Those who appreciate the squirrel's foot fern often do so for its ability to add a verdant and whimsical charm to indoor and outdoor settings alike. Its unique features, especially the rhizomes that give it its namesake, make it a conversation piece and a prized specimen amongst fern enthusiasts.

Plant Info
Common Problems

About this plant

  • memoNames

    • Family


    • Synonyms

      Squirrel's Foot Fern, Hare's Foot Fern, Ball Fern, White Paw Fern

    • Common names

      Davallia bullata var. mariesii, Davallia griffithiana var. mariesii, Humata mariesii.

  • skullToxicity

    • To humans

      The plant commonly known as Hare's Foot Fern is not typically considered toxic to humans. There is no widespread documentation of toxicity, and it is generally regarded as safe around humans. Therefore, there are no specific symptoms of poisoning associated with the Hare's Foot Fern, as it is not known to be poisonous if ingested by humans.

    • To pets

      Hare's Foot Fern is not known to be toxic to pets. It is not listed among plants that are commonly known to cause poisoning in animals like cats and dogs, and as such, there are no specific symptoms of poisoning associated with the Hare's Foot Fern for pets. It is generally considered safe in households with pets, and ingestion should not cause any harm. However, it's always best to prevent pets from eating plants as individual animals might have unique sensitivities.

  • infoCharacteristics

    • Life cycle


    • Foliage type


    • Color of leaves


    • Height

      1 feet (30 cm)

    • Spread

      2 feet (60 cm)

    • Plant type


    • Hardiness zones


    • Native area



  • money-bagGeneral Benefits

    • Ornamental Appeal: Davallia mariesii, commonly known as Squirrel's Foot Fern, has attractive foliage and distinctive, hairy rhizomes that add visual interest to any indoor or outdoor setting.
    • Low Maintenance: Squirrel's Foot Fern is relatively easy to care for, requiring only moderate light and water, making it ideal for those who want hassle-free greenery.
    • Drought Tolerant: It can withstand periods of dryness once established, making it suitable for environments that occasionally experience water scarcity.
    • Shade Tolerant: This fern thrives in low light conditions, making it an excellent choice for shaded gardens or indoor areas with indirect sunlight.
    • Versatility in Landscaping: It can be used in various applications, such as groundcovers, hanging baskets, or as a living mulch under taller plants.
    • Non-Toxic: Squirrel's Foot Fern is safe around pets and children, as it is not known to be toxic if accidentally ingested.
    • Long-Lived: With proper care, this fern can be a long-term addition to gardens or as a houseplant, offering years of greenery.

  • medicalMedical Properties

    This plant is not used for medical purposes.

  • windAir-purifying Qualities

    This plant is not specifically known for air purifying qualities.

  • leavesOther Uses

    • Davallia mariesii, also known as the Hare's Foot Fern, can be used in terrariums and fairy gardens to add a touch of greenery and mimic a miniature forest floor.
    • The Hare's Foot Fern's distinctive furry rhizomes can be incorporated into living art pieces or botanical sculptures, adding texture and interest.
    • The plant is ideal for hanging baskets, where its rhizomes and fronds can cascade down, creating an eye-catching display in porches or patios.
    • Used in bonsai culture, the Hare's Foot Fern adds a unique and whimsical element with its rhizomes resembling tiny animal feet or woodland features.
    • It can be used in educational settings as a tool to teach about epiphytic plants and their growth habits, inspiring interest in botany.
    • In photography, the intricate fronds and rhizomes of Hare's Foot Fern can serve as a natural backdrop or a subject for macro photography.
    • For a naturalistic approach in herpetology, Hare's Foot Fern can be grown in reptile and amphibian enclosures, contributing to a habitat-like environment.
    • The fern can be used in costume design, where the feathery fronds provide an organic, forest-inspired element to outfits or stage props.
    • The plant can be a component of a green roof system, contributing to biodiversity and aiding in building insulation through its natural processes.
    • In film and theater sets, Hare's Foot Fern can be utilized to create a lush, ancient, or magical ambiance in forest scenes.

Interesting Facts

  • bedFeng Shui

    The Rabbit's Foot Fern is not used in Feng Shui practice.

  • aquariusZodiac Sign Compitability

    The Rabbit's Foot Fern is not used in astrology practice.

  • spiralPlant Symbolism

    • Resilience: Also known as Squirrel's Foot Fern, Davallia mariesii is known for its tough, creeping rhizomes that resemble furry animal paws and its ability to thrive in various conditions, symbolizing the ability to persist and adapt through challenges.
    • Endurance: Its capacity to endure in diverse environments and its persistent growth habit represent the trait of enduring hardships without losing vitality.
    • Protection: The Squirrel's Foot Fern often uses other trees and rocks as support, which translates symbolically into offering or seeking protection or support from others.
    • Mystery: The unique and unusual appearance of its rhizomes can be associated with the mysterious and the uncommon, hinting at hidden beauty or inner strength that is not immediately apparent.
    • Growth: As a fern, it symbolizes new growth, expansion, and the unfurling of new beginnings, just like the uncurling of new fronds represents the emergence of life and fresh opportunities.

Every 2 weeks
2500 - 10000 Lux
Every 2-3 years
Spring-Early Summer
Not needed
  • water dropWater

    The common name of Davallia mariesii is "Hare's Foot Fern." It prefers consistent moisture and should be watered thoroughly once the top inch of soil feels dry to the touch. Usually, this means watering approximately once a week, but this can vary depending on environmental conditions such as light, temperature, and humidity. When watering, use enough water to ensure that it reaches the entire root system, which could be around 16 to 32 ounces depending on pot size. During the winter months, reduce watering frequency as the plant's growth slows down. Never allow the plant to sit in water as this can lead to root rot.

  • sunLight

    Hare's Foot Fern thrives in bright, indirect light. It should be placed in a spot where it can receive plenty of light but is shielded from the harsh rays of direct sunlight, which can scorch its fronds. A north-facing or east-facing window is often ideal for providing the type of light conditions this fern prefers. It can also adapt to lower light conditions but may grow more slowly.

  • thermometerTemperature

    Hare's Foot Fern enjoys a temperature range between 60 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit for optimal growth. It can survive in temperatures as low as 50 degrees Fahrenheit and as high as 80 degrees Fahrenheit, but should not be exposed to temperatures outside this range to avoid stress or damage. Maintain the fern away from drafts and sudden temperature changes to keep it healthy and thriving.

  • scissorsPruning

    Pruning Hare's Foot Fern is mainly done to remove dead or damaged fronds and to maintain its tidy appearance. Pruning can be done as needed throughout the year whenever you notice unsightly or brown fronds. The best time to do a more thorough pruning is in the spring, which will encourage new growth and rejuvenate the plant. Always use clean, sharp scissors or pruning shears to make clean cuts without tearing the fronds.

  • broomCleaning

    As needed

  • bambooSoil

    The best soil mix for the Rabbit's Foot Fern should be well-draining and rich in organic matter. A mix of potting soil, peat moss, and perlite in equal parts is ideal. The soil pH should be slightly acidic to neutral, ranging from 6.0 to 7.0.

  • plantRepotting

    Rabbit's Foot Ferns should be repotted every 2-3 years, or when the rhizomes outgrow the pot. Repotting is best done in the springtime to give the plant time to establish before the growing season.

  • water dropsHumidity & Misting

    Rabbit's Foot Fern thrives in high humidity conditions, ideally between 60% to 70%. It benefits from being misted regularly or placed in a well-humidified room.

  • pinSuitable locations

    • Indoor

      Ensure high humidity, indirect light, and no drafts for ideal growth.

    • Outdoor

      Place in shaded area; protect from direct sun and harsh winds.

    • Hardiness zone

      10-11 USDA

  • circleLife cycle

    Davallia mariesii, commonly known as Squirrel's Foot Fern, begins its life cycle as a spore, which is produced in sporangia typically found on the underside of the fronds. When conditions are favorable, the spores germinate and grow into a small, heart-shaped gametophyte called a prothallus. The prothallus supports sexual reproduction; it produces both male and female sex organs (antheridia and archegonia) and, following fertilization, a zygote is formed. The zygote then develops into a new sporophyte, starting the asexual phase of the cycle. The young fern sporophyte emerges from the prothallus and begins to grow into a mature fern, gradually developing the characteristic fronds and rhizomes covered in brown scales that resemble a squirrel’s foot. Over time, the fern grows larger, producing more fronds and eventually, sporangia to complete the cycle.

  • sproutPropogation

    • Propogation time

      Spring-Early Summer

    • Propogation: The most popular method for propagating Davallia mariesii, commonly known as the hare's foot fern, is by division. This plant forms clumps of furry rhizomes, which are the 'hare's feet', that often creep over the surface of the soil or pot edge. Division is usually done in spring, just before the growing season begins. To propagate, carefully lift the plant and separate the rhizomes, making sure each section has at least one frond and roots attached. Then, plant each division in its own pot filled with a well-draining potting mix. Water the new plants thoroughly and keep them in indirect light until they are established.