Common Name: Christmas fern
Native Range: Eastern North America
Zone: 3 to 9
Height: 1.00 to 2.00 feet
Spread: 1.00 to 2.00 feet
Bloom Time: Non-flowering
Bloom Description: Non-flowering
Sun: Part shade to full shade
Water: Dry to medium
Other: Winter Interest
Tolerate: Rabbit, Deer, Drought, Heavy Shade, Erosion, Dry Soil, Shallow-Rocky Soil
Best grown in organically rich, dry to medium moisture, well-drained soils in part shade to full shade. Consider planting rhizome at an angle to help combat potential crown rot problems which can occur in poorly drained soils. Although rhizomatous, this fern will not spread or naturalize, however clumps will increase in size over time.
Polystichum acrostichoides, commonly called Christmas fern, is a Missouri native fern which occurs in both dry and moist wooded slopes, moist banks and ravines. Typically grows in a fountain-like clump to 2' tall and features leathery, lance-shaped, evergreen (green at Christmas time as the common name suggests) fronds. Stocking shape of the pinnae also suggests Christmas. Crosiers (young fiddleheads) in spring are silvery and scaled. Sori appear on the undersides of the pinnae only at the ends (last 1/3) of the fronds. Evergreen fronds provide good winter interest for the landscape.
Genus name comes from the Greek words polys meaning many and stichos meaning in a row in reference to its spore cases being in rows.
No serious insect or disease problems. Crown rot in poorly drained soils can be a problem, particularly in winter.
Dryish or moist soils in woodland gardens, shade gardens or shady areas of borders, wild or native plant gardens. May also be planted in shady areas along walls or foundations. A good plant for massing on slopes (including dryish, rocky ones) to help combat soil erosion.