Dryopteris (drye-opp-ter-iss) Wood Fern, Shield Fern. Common-fern Family (Polypodiaceae). An enormous genus of ferns are hardy and native to woodlands of the U.S. and elsewhere. They are among the easiest ferns to grow, as well as being the most beautiful of our larger ferns. The delicate, much-divided fronds rise gracefully from creeping rootstock and form attractive clumps or symmetrical groups.