Polystichum braunii

Common Name: Braun's holly fern 
Type: Fern
Family: Dryopteridaceae
Native Range: North America, Eurasia
Zone: 3 to 8
Height: 2.00 to 3.00 feet
Spread: 2.00 to 3.00 feet
Bloom Time: Non-flowering
Bloom Description: Non-flowering
Sun: Part shade to full shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Low
Tolerate: Rabbit, Deer


Easily grown in moist woodland soils in part shade to full shade. Prefers cool shade. Consider planting rhizome at an angle to help combat potential crown rot problems which most often occur in poorly drained soils.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Polystichum braunii, commonly called Braun’s holly fern, is native to shaded locations in cool, moist woods in two different areas of North America: (1) Alaska to British Columbia and (2) Newfoundland to Minnesota south to Wisconsin and New York. It is also native to Europe, China and Japan. It typically forms a dense, erect-arching clump to 2-3’ tall of lustrous, leathery, bipinnate, dark green fronds that are semi-evergreen. Fronds narrow at both tip and base. Pinnules are bristle-tiped. Stipe and rachis are covered with silvery scales that mature to brown. Blackish sporangia appear on the frond undersides in early summer.

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.

Specific epithet honors Alexander Braun, 19th century German botanist.


No serious insect or disease problems. Crown rot may occur in poorly drained soils, particularly in winter.


Excellent selection for shaded areas in the landscape, including borders, woodland gardens and wild gardens.