Athyrium pycnocarpon is a light green fern with light green, arching fronds in a circular cluster of 5 or 6, to a height of 2-3 ft.. The undivided lance-shaped pinnae have smooth margins, with sharp, pointed tips and are reduced at base. The fertile fronds are narrower, more erect and have a longer stipe; the rachis is pale green and slightly hairy beneath, with long sori. The plants have creeping rhizomes and prefer continuous moisture and partial to full shade. The fronds will turn brown with dry soil and it can spread rapidly, if conditions are right. As with most ferns, it is seldom damaged by deer.
It will tolerate zones 3-8, and is typically found in deciduous undestories.
This is a great fern for those very low light conditions where it is difficult to find other plants to grow.