Polystichum acrostichoides INDU.JPG

Christmas fern

Polystichum acrostichoides (Michx.) Schott

Family:     Dryopteridaceae (Wood fern family)

Duration:  Perennial

Height:     30-75 cm (1-2.5 ft)


Species Present and Native

 Stem: erect and covered in brown scales diminishing in size as they move up the plant.

Leaves: fronds are dimorphic meaning that the fertile fronds are separate from non-fertile fronds.  The fertile fronds are longer than the non-fertile fronds and have sori on the top of the leaflets that cover the whole bottom.

Sun:  Part shade to shade


Polystichum acrostichoides Chesterton IN.JPG

Comments:  It is unsure where the common name has come from but it is thought that it is derived from it being evergreen during Christmas.

Etymology:  The name Polystichum comes from the greek words, poly and stichos meaning "many rows" referring to its sori.  The specific epithet refers to the resemblance of the fern to a tropical fern called Acrostichum.  The Latin word -oides means "looks like".

Landscape:  As a gorgeous fern, it fulfills the landscape need of shade tolerant plants as well as a smaller size.  The glossy green color holds throughout the winter.  

Polystichum acrostichoides sori.JPG
Polystichum acrostichoides sori.JPG

all photos by Nathanael Pilla