Autumn fern (Dryopteris erythosora) is called autumn fern due to the new growth of spring, tinted red that reminds us of the autumnal hues of fall. The new growth eventually matures from wine red to a pale green. Dryopteris erythosora is easy to grow, relatively drought resistant for a fern and spectacular in mass as a ground cover.
Regarding drought tolerance, although autumn fern is often recommended as such, please bear in mind that ferns prefer moist, rich soil, so any drought tolerance found is relative to other ferns. The above stated, if one were looking for a fern that could thrive in a normal garden setting (average soil, moderate shade, regular amounts of rain) without tons of water, autumn fern should do well.
Autumn fern, hardy zones 5-9, retains its foliage through the winter, although by spring the general disarray of the battered fronds recommends a wack to the ground. Recommended as deer resistant, autumn fern is the answer for those who yearn for ferns but do not live in a bog.