Sweet fern, Canadian sweetgale, fern bush, ferngale, ferngate, meadow fern, shrubby fern, shrubby-sweet fern, spleen fern, spleenwort bush, spleenwort fern, sweet bush, sweet ferry.
A sweet-smelling, many-branched, perennial shrub that grows to 3 feet in height. Small branches are lightly hairy. Leaves are alternate, 3 to 6 inches long, linear, and deeply cleft. Produces fuzzy pistillate flowers in catkins, and ½ inch shiny, brown nutlets.
Open, sterile woodlands; clearings, pastures, and dry woods.
The U.S. Dispensatory states that a decoction of the plant is used to treat diarrhea. Another authority says the plant has value in treating poison ivy.